British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson's staff cleared of fraud
LONDON (REUTERS) - Two former assistants of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson were acquitted of defrauding her and her art dealer ex-husband on Friday after a trial that enthralled Britain with lurid tales of drug use, lavish spending and marital bullying.
Sisters Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo were cleared of defrauding Lawson and Charles Saatchi of 685,000 pounds (S$1.4 million), having argued in court there had been an understanding they could spend at will on credit cards if they kept quiet about the chef's drug taking.
Lawson, 53, said she was "disappointed but unsurprised" by the acquittal and said she was "maliciously vilified" in the trial that had provided a stage for a sustained campaign to destroy her reputation.
"Over the three week trial, the jury was faced with a ridiculous sideshow of false allegations about drug use which made focus on the actual criminal trial impossible," Lawson said in a statement issued by her publicist.