Celebrity chef Mario Batali acquitted of sexual misconduct | Home + Life + Health

BOSTON (AP) — Mario Batali was discovered not responsible of indecent assault and battery on Tuesday, following a swift trial by which the superstar chef waived his proper to have a jury resolve his destiny.

The 61-year-old former Food Network character shortly strode out of the courtroom together with his legal professionals with out commenting on the case, which centered on allegations that he aggressively kissed and groped a Boston lady whereas taking a selfie at a bar in 2017.

In delivering the decision, Boston Municipal Court Judge James Stanton agreed with Batali’s legal professionals that the accuser had credibility points and that pictures prompt the encounter was amicable.

“Pictures are worth a thousand words,” he stated.

But the decide additionally had stern phrases for the previous star of reveals like “Molto Mario” and “Iron Chef America,” who prosecutors argued was visibly drunk in the photos.

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“The defendant did not cover himself in glory on the night in question,” Stanton stated. “His conduct, his appearance and his demeanor were not befitting of a public person of his stature at that time.”

Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden stated he was disenchanted within the verdict however grateful Batali’s accuser had come ahead.

“It can be incredibly difficult for a victim to disclose a sexual assault,” he stated in an announcement. “When the individual who committed such an abhorrent act is in a position of power or celebrity, the decision to report an assault can become all the more challenging and intimidating.”

Batali, who pleaded not responsible to indecent assault and battery in 2019, had confronted as much as 2 1/2 years in jail and would’ve been required to register as a intercourse offender if convicted.

His accuser, who additionally exited the courtroom with out talking with reporters, had testified how she felt confused and powerless to do something to cease Batali on the time.

But in his closing statements, Batali’s lawyer Antony Fuller portrayed the 32-year-old Boston-area resident as an “admitted liar” who’s financially motivated as a result of she’s filed a lawsuit in search of greater than $50,000 in damages from Batali.

“In her world, truth is a flexible concept,” he stated, referencing the lady’s latest admission of making an attempt to keep away from jury service by claiming to be clairvoyant, which was a spotlight of the two-day trial.

Prosecutor Nina Bonelli countered in her closing assertion that Batali’s legal professionals had been attempting to “demonize” the lady, when it was their shopper on trial over his conduct.

She argued it was “absolutely undeniable” from the pictures that Batali was drunk. What’s not proven, she stated, is what was taking place off digital camera as he additionally grabbed the accuser’s personal areas.

Bonelli added the lady tried to “de-escalate” the undesirable touching by merely “smiling it off.”

“The kissing, the groping. She never asked for it. She never consented to it,” she stated. “She just wanted a selfie.”

Batali is amongst a variety of high-profile males who’ve confronted a public reckoning throughout the #MeToo motion towards sexual abuse and harassment lately.

After 4 ladies accused him of inappropriate touching in 2017, he stepped down from day-to-day operations at his restaurant empire and left the since-discontinued ABC cooking present “The Chew.”

Batali additionally apologized, acknowledging the allegations “match up” with methods he has acted.

“I have made many mistakes,” he stated in an e mail e-newsletter on the time. “My behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility.”

Last 12 months, Batali, his enterprise associate and their New York City restaurant firm agreed to pay $600,000 to resolve a four-year investigation by the New York legal professional normal’s workplace into allegations that Batali and different employees sexually harassed workers.

In Boston, he had opened a department of the favored Italian meals market Eataly and a Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca within the metropolis’s Seaport District. But he has since been purchased out of his stake in Eataly, and the Babbo restaurant in Boston has closed.

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