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Assistant to TV Chef Nigella Lawson Denies Claim About Oprah Winfrey Pact

Lawson's assistant, Anzelle Wasserman, quizzed about alleged TV deal in court

LONDON — A claim that TV chef Nigella Lawson, who appears on ABC’s cooking show “The Taste,” has an exclusive deal to speak with talk-show host Oprah Winfrey was denied by Lawson’s assistants, Anzelle Wasserman, in a London court Wednesday.

The claim was made by Karina Arden, the defense attorney for Francesca Grillo, who — along with sister Elisabetta Grillo — is accused of defrauding Lawson and her former husband, Charles Saatchi, of £685,000 ($1.12 million). The sisters are Lawson’s former assistants.

The Winfrey agreement would kick in when the trial ends in January, according to Arden.

Arden asked Wasserman: “You know, don’t you, that Miss Lawson has signed an exclusive agreement with Oprah Winfrey in January?” Wasserman replied: “That’s not correct.” However, Wasserman did not explain which details were or were not correct.

A source at Winfrey’s company, OWN, told Variety that there are no plans for an interview at this time.

The Grillo sisters claim that Lawson allowed them to spend what they wanted on the understanding that they would keep quiet about her alleged drugs use. Lawson has denied she is a habitual drugs user.

These allegations, together with juicy details about Lawson’s marriage to Saatchi, who is a well-known former advertising executive and art collector in the U.K., have made the court case front-page news in the U.K., as well as generating press coverage in the U.S.

Elisabetta Grillo and Francesca Grillo deny all charges. The case continues.

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