Sisters Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo, the former assistants of “The Taste “ judge Nigella Lawson, have been found not guilty of the fraud charges leveled against them. Both Lawson and her ex-husband Charles Saatchi claimed the ex-employees were guilty of fraudulent spending of about $1.1 million during the 10 years they worked for the couple.
A jury of seven men and five women in London cleared the Grillo sisters of defrauding the pair. After the sisters said Lawson authorized them to spend the money to cover up the TV chef’s drug use, the public’s focus on the case became those allegations. Lawson has since admitted several instances where she used cocaine.
The drug allegations won’t be investigated, Scotland Yard decided, but that decision could be reviewed if new evidence comes to light, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Neither Saatchi nor Lawson were present when the jury announced the decision.
Lawson says she is disappointed but not surprised the Grillos were found not guilty. “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,” she says, via BBC. “When false claims about habitual drug use were introduced I did everything possible to ensure the CPS was aware of the sustained background campaign deliberately designed to destroy my reputation.”
She adds, “Even more harrowing was seeing my children subjected to extreme allegations in court without any real protection or representation. For this I cannot forgive the court process.”
Season 2 of “The Taste” is set to premiere Jan. 2 on ABC. The network says it has wrapped filming and will air it as scheduled.