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Saatchi vs Lawson - Nigella comes out fighting amidst cocaine smear campaign

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Nigella Lawson came out of her corner fighting as she gave evidence in the now notorious trial of her former assistants, the Grillos, at Isleworth Crown Court. The case has become something of a proxy for the bitter divorce fight between Miss Lawson and former husband Charles Saatchi.

Saatchi, master of the dark arts of spin, has allegedly been doing everything he can to destroy his former wife with a carefully planned series of damaging leaks, revelations and insinuations, including the portrayal of Miss Lawson as a cocaine addict.

The media has disappointingly, but predictably, focused on her admission to using cocaine with theatrical shock – journalism being as we all well know, a drug free zone, but the evidence in yesterday’s trial was an extraordinary portrait of a power marriage in complete meltdown.

She took to the witness box yesterday to admit taking cocaine and smoking marijuana occasionally but not habitually, telling the court she had a “life problem” rather than a drug problem. She then suggested wryly that people who had such advanced cocaine addictions “are a lot thinner than I am.”

She went on to allege that despite Mr Saatchi disapproving of cocaine, during his time running the Saatchi & Saatchi advertising agency “they brought in a big sack of cocaine every Friday,” as a staff bonus.

Speaking of her intermittent drug use, she said. “I found it made an intolerable situation tolerable. Since freeing myself from a brilliant but brutal man I am now totally cannabis, cocaine and illegal drug free.”

Giving her account of the events at Scott’s restaurant in Mayfair that led to Mr Saatchi accepting a police caution and the final breakdown of her marriage, she said

“He told everyone that he was taking cocaine out of my nose in Scott’s — that is a lie. I will tell you what happened. Someone walked by with a very sweet baby in a stroller and I said, 'I’m so looking forward to having grandchildren’ and he grabbed me by the throat and said, 'I’m the only person you should be concerned with, I’m the only person who should be giving you pleasure.”

Describing her reluctance to give evidence for the prosecution she said

“My relations with Mr Saatchi were not good. He said to me that if I didn’t go back to him and clear his name he would destroy me and also started spreading false allegations of drug use … I felt his way of getting this out was to use this case.”

He “menaced” her in August with threats of drug allegations, which shortly thereafter appeared on a blog “dedicated to salvaging Mr Saatchi’s reputation and savaging mine” and she described some of Saatchi's behaviour towards her as 'intimate terrorism'

She said: “I felt that this would not become a fraud case, I would be put on trial and actually that’s what has happened. I have been put on trial here, where I am bound to answer the allegations and it comes after a long summer of bullying and abuse and I find it just like another chapter in that.”

Mr Saatchi threatened to sue his ex-wife if she refused to give evidence in the case, because, said Miss Lawson, “part of this campaign is to ruin me in whatever way, and if that is financial as well so be it”.

“I think it would be 'Get her, I don’t care what it takes, I don’t care what it costs, do whatever it takes’. He feels betrayed by me.”

The case continues

Written by Cyrus Bozorgmehr - Google+ Profile - More articles by Cyrus Bozorgmehr

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