Nigella Lawson admitted Wednesday that she had taken cocaine a few times, but denied habitually using illegal drugs, as she faced dozens of photographers and television crews from around the world as she arrived at the west London court.
She told the court she had used the drug once with her late husband, John Diamond, when they learned that his cancer was terminal. She had it with him on six occasions. “It gave him some escape,” she said.
She added she had the responsibility for looking after him and the family while earning a living. Lawson says she spoke to a doctor at the time that said if John Diamond wanted to take cocaine, she should just let him do it.
Nigella Lawson then admitted in July 2010 she was offered the drug from her friend when she felt subject to “terrorism” by her then-husband Charles Saatchi.
At that point she “felt trapped, isolated and unhappy.” Lawson said, “I’ve never been a drug addict, I’ve never been an habitual user. … I did not have a drug problem, I had a life problem.”
Lawson said ex-husband Charles Saatchi, a wealthy art dealer and advertising mogul, had threatened to destroy her if she did not clear his name after he was photographed gripping her throat outside Scott’s restaurant in London.
“He told everyone that he was taking cocaine out of my nose at Scott’s when he knows that is a lie,” Lawson said, testifying at the trial of two former assistants accused of fraudulently using the couple’s credit cards.
Her former PAs, Francesca Grillo and her sister Elisabetta, sometimes referred to as Lisa, are accused of committing fraud by using a company credit card for personal gain, Lawson appeared as a prosecution witness.
When she was asked about her reluctance to attend court as a witness in the assistants’ trial she said, “I have been put on trial here where I am called to answer, and glad to answer the allegations, and the world’s press, and it comes after a long summer of bullying and abuse,” Lawson said. “I find it’s another chapter in that.”
Prosecutors claim the Italian sisters lived the ‘high life’, spending the money on designer clothes and handbags from Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Vivienne Westwood.
The pair are accused of using credit cards loaned to them by the TV cook and her ex-husband Saatchi to spend more than $1.2 million on themselves.
These allegations emerged in June, around the time the couple were photographed in a restaurant having an argument.
In an e-mail that was shared with the court, Saatchi wrote that the assistants would likely get away because Lawson was using cocaine and marijuana on a daily basis and “allowed the sisters to spend whatever they liked.”
When Lawson was read a list of expenditures by the Grillos, she denied ever authorizing them.
She did however confirm that the aides were often given lavish gifts as a reward for their hard work and loyalty. Elisabetta Grillo was given gifts including a Hermes watch and a Diamond necklace from Tiffany’s, while another aide put her expensive wedding reception at the Saatchi Gallery on Mr Saatchi’s credit card after being told the couple would foot the bill.
“It’s very difficult when you find out that someone you have loved and trusted could behave in that way,” Lawson said, her voice breaking with emotions. “In my heart of hearts I do not believe Lisa to be a bad person. But I believe her to have not a very strong moral compass.”
Nigella Lawson Admits Taking Cocaine
Nigella Lawson has admitted taking cocaine, but denies having a drug problem or being an addict. She said she had first taken the drug with her late husband John Diamond when he was terminally ill. Ms Lawson said she had taken it again in July 2010, after she felt she had been “subjected to intimate terrorism” by her ex-husband, Charles Saatchi. She made the admission at the trial at Isleworth Crown Court of her former assistants, who deny fraud.