Nigella Lawson Comes Out Fighting at Grillo Fraud Trial

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By Dominic Gover | December 4, 2013 11:16 PM EST

Nigella Lawson arrives at Isleworth Crown Court fraud trial PIC: Reuters

Nigella Lawson cut an icy figure as she came to court after being hit by drugs allegations in the fraud trial of two former trusted members of staff.

Celebrity cook Lawson appeared at Isleworth Crown Court to give evidence in the case of two of her assistants, the sisters Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo.

The pair are accused of going on huge spending sprees while employed by Lawson and Saatchi before the couple's 10-year marriage broke down. They deny fraud and said the spending was sanctioned by Lawson in exchange for staying silent about her drug use.

Appearing at the witness stand, Lawson called allegations about her drug use "false" and said the trial was a "difficult time" for her family. They had become a media storm, she said:  "They had been put on the internet and sent to every media outlet and I felt that this would not become a fraud case, I would be put on trial and actually that's what has happened."

Lawson said she been threatened by former husband Saatchi and subjected to "bullying and abuse." The couple broke up this summer after photographs emerged of Saatchi appearing to manhandle Lawson in public in London.

"Saatchi said if I did not go back to him and clear his name, he would destroy me," Lawson told the jury.

"[It was] a long summer of bullying and abuse.

"I felt it was my civic duty to come to court. It is difficult for me and difficult for my children.

Speaking of the accused, Lawson said: "I am doing my best to be fair to Lisa. It saddens me that she is here."

"In my heart of hearts don't think she (Lisa) is a bad person. Doesn't have strong moral compass. Led by her sister."

The TV cook frequently clashed with Anthony Metzer QC as he cross-examined her.

When he suggested that Mr Saatchi's background "conflicted" with hers she said: "I don't understand how my marriage is pertinent to you."

Referring to the death of Mr Diamond, Mr Metzer said "when he died, or passed away, I'll try to be tactful..." Miss Lawson interrupted and said: "You don't need to be tactful about death. You were smiling when you said that, it was flippant."

Referring to the death of Mr Diamond, Mr Metzer said "when he died, or passed away, I'll try to be tactful..." Miss Lawson interrupted and said: "You don't need to be tactful about death. You were smiling when you said that, it was flippant."

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