Some serious claims are being made against Nigella Lawson.
Two former kitchen assistants who used to work for the celebrity chef have alleged that Lawson used cocaine, cannabis and prescription pills "daily" for more than a decade," The Telegraph reports.
The accusations made by Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo came during a pre-trial hearing in London on Tuesday, Nov. 26. The sisters have been charged with defrauding Lawson and ex-husband Charles Saatchi out of more than 300,000 pounds ($484,600) while employed by them.
However, as part of their defense, the Grillo sisters claim Lawson authorized them to freely use Saatchi's company credit card in exchange for their silence regarding her alleged drug use.
"In a nutshell, we submit that she had a guilty secret from her husband, her then husband," Anthony Metzer, a lawyer for Elisabetta Grillo, told Isleworth Crown Court, per The Telegraph. "She did not want him to know of her use of cocaine and that is highly relevant to the defense case."
According to The Guardian, at one point, Metzer referred to the now-infamous alleged choking incident that took place earlier this year. In June, photos were published showing Saatchi grabbing Lawson's throat during an argument at Scott's restaurant in Mayfair, London. Authorities ultimately gave Saatchi a warning for assault. He and Lawson ended their 10-year marriage soon after.
"It is our submission the row that happened, resulting in Mr. Saatchi assaulting Nigella, may well have had something to do with Nigella taking drugs and may well have had something to do with the issue before this court [of whether Lawson had given the Grillos permission to use the credit cards]," Metzer told the court.
Per The Telegraph, prosecuting lawyer Jane Carpenter said, "This is a totally scurrilous account which has been raised by the defense," noting that, despite being arrested more than a year ago and charged in March, the Grillo sisters only made the drug allegations earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Lawson's rep tells E! News, "As court proceedings are live we can't comment, I'm afraid."