The already acrimonious divorce between Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi has taken an even nastier turn. To recap, it was only June when the world first witnessed photos of Charles choking Nigella at Scott’s restaurant in Mayfair. Before long, Saatchi announced he was divorcing Nigella because she didn’t defend him to the press. He threatened suicide and wouldn’t leave Nigella alone but quickly lost interest and paraded around with a new girlfriend, Trinny Woodall (a UK television presenter with questionable judgment in men).
All sorts of theories for the divorce were floated. Among them, Saatchi claimed he was actually picking Nigella’s nose at Scott’s, which was ridiculous. When Nigella moved out of the shared family home, I hoped she had conquered the worst of this mess. Not quite. We then heard from Saatchi’s camp about how the couple fought over Nigella’s 17-year-old son moving out. Another possibility involved the couple’s joint assistants, two sisters named Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, who allegedly misappropriated funds on luxury goods including Virgin Atlantic flights and Prada, Miu Miu, and Chanel items.
Nigella has also been fending off Vanity Fair for a hard-hitting article about the divorce. Any woman, let alone a public figure, doesn’t deserve that harassment. Now the focus has come back to the two assistants thanks to a lawsuit (for credit card fraud) that Saatchi has filed against the two women. They’re coming out swinging. The Telegraph maintains how Nigella didn’t want Saatchi to sue, but he did it anyway.
I am very suspicious of the testimony revealed thus far. The Grillo sisters have mounted a defense that revolves around alleged drug use by Nigella. They say Nigella was snorting coke daily, and she let them spend Saatchi’s money in return for their silence. The suit refers to an angry email from Saatchi to Nigella prior to the choking incident. The implication is that alleged cokehead Nigella brought the choking upon herself. Of course. I’ve edited down the story because it’s super long:
The restaurant row between Nigella Lawson and her husband Charles Saatchi which ended in her apparently being choked by him may have been sparked by her alleged drug-taking, a court heard.
The 53-year-old domestic goddess “habitually took cocaine” on a daily basis for a decade but kept it secret from her millionaire art dealer husband, it was claimed. She also allegedly abused prescription drugs and took cannabis during their marriage.
Mr Saatchi accused Miss Lawson of being “so off your heads on drugs” that she allowed their personal assistants to spend whatever they liked on credit cards in an email, a judge was told. He branded her ‘Higella” in the message – and accused her of “poisoning” her daughter Cosmina, 19, with drugs before adding: “Classy!”
The claims emerged as Italian sisters Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo prepare to stand trial charged with spending £300,000 on luxuries including designer clothes and first-class air travel on their credit cards.
Mr Saatchi and Nigella split up after their ten-year marriage collapsed when pictures were published in June showing the art dealer holding his wife by the throat.
Anthony Metzer QC, defending Elisabetta, told Isleworth Crown Court the row may have been about Miss Lawson’s alleged drug use and the credit card fraud claims.
He said: “We are submitting the row that happened resulting in Mr Saatchi assaulting Nigella may have had something to do with Nigella taking drugs and may have something to do with the issue before this court of whether she gave them (the defendants) authority to use the cards.”
Referring to the Grillo sisters, he added: “Our clients have been the innocent pawns in a rather unpleasant battle going on between Mr Saatchi, Miss Lawson and their lawyers. We come within the parameters of manipulation of the court.”
During a “bad character” application, lawyers for the sisters said they had a “tacit understanding” that they could keep spending, as long as they didn’t reveal Miss Lawson’s “guilty secret” to Mr Saatchi.
The judge said the drug-taking claims could be reported even though the trial against Francesca, 34, and Elisabetta, 41, is yet to begin. The pair are both charged with fraud against Charles Saatchi’s company Conraco Partnership and deny the offence.
Asked by the police to explain what he meant in his mail, Saatchi told lawyers he said: “At the time of sending that email I was completely astounded by the alleged scale of drug use set out in the statement. Nevertheless, I did believe the allegations and that’s what I’m referring to in the email.
“I have been asked whether it referred to a belief that Nigella or the children permitted the sisters to spend whatever they liked. I can’t remember precisely what I had in mind. On reflection I was simply speculating that the sisters would use this information to defend themselves.”
Mr Metzer QC said Saatchi told his lawyers: “During our marriage I was unaware Nigella took drugs.” The explosive allegations were made as Judge Johnson allowed bad character evidence against Nigella to be heard at the upcoming trial.
In a hearing on November 15, the judge said: “The defence asserts that Miss Lawson habitually took cocaine and did so on a daily basis – in addition to her abuse of prescription drugs – throughout the defendants’ time in the household.”
Elisabetta and Francesca allegedly bought designer goods from Miu Miu, Chanel and Prada and booked a £3,616 Virgin Atlantic flight to New York using the credit cards.
During the November 15 hearing, Mr Metzer said that his client was alleging that Miss Lawson had a “guilty secret” she was hiding from her husband. He said: “The bad character application relates to Miss Lawson’s alleged taking of Class A and Class B drugs and her unauthorised use of prescription drugs.
“This is a matter highly relative to the defence because, in a nutshell, we respectfully submit she had a guilty secret from her husband. She did not want him to know about her use particularly of cocaine.
“Because the defendants were fully aware of her illicit drug use she consented to their expenditure on the understanding there would be no disclosure to her husband of her drug usage. It would not have been verbalised, but it would be along the lines of ‘you do this for me I do that for you.’
“There would be an understanding. She would be fully aware of the substantial expenditure, but in return expected a tacit understanding that it would remain behind closed doors. They had a tacit understanding that they would not shop her to her husband or the authorities.”
[From Daily Mail]
God, poor Nigella. She’s still reeling from her recent divorce from this monster, and Saatchi is pretending to be all worried about his wallet when he really just wants to stick it to Nigella. The Grillo sisters don’t seem like the most trustworthy gals out there, so it’s easy to believe that they’d turn over on Nigella to take Saatchi’s side. Plus there’s the side of this story that makes it seem like Saatchi just wants an excuse for choking his wife. Dude, there is no excuse.
In an amusing detail, these two former assistants/grifters have revealed that Saatchi did give them free reign over his credit cards to purchase copies of his books and boost his sales numbers. So what is the truth of the matter — did Nigella give the credit card accounts over for the girls to do whatever they desire, or did Saatchi give over the numbers to make it look like his books sold?
For what it’s worth, the prosecution in this case has already taken Nigella’s side: “This is a totally scurrilous account which has been raised by the defense, and the timing is no coincidence at all.” A Nigella source confirms, “These allegations are totally untrue.”
By the way, Saatchi is still with Trinny Woodall. They regularly visit Scott’s restaurant together, which seems really disgusting.
Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet & WENN