BOSTON – Famous chef Mario Batali’s trial for a delayed pandemic on charges of sexual misconduct begins in Boston on Monday.
Batali pleaded not guilty to charges of indecent assault and abuse in 2019, stemming from allegations that he violently kissed and groped a woman after taking a selfie with her at a Boston restaurant in 2017. The woman says Batali noticed she photographed him and that she he invited her to take one together and then repeatedly touched and kissed her without her consent.
If convicted, Batali could face up to 2 1/2 years in prison and must report as a sex offender. He is expected to be in court throughout the proceedings, which should take about two days after the jury selection is completed, Suffolk District Attorney’s Office Kevin Hayden said.
Batali’s lawyers did not comment before the start of the jury election on Monday at Boston Municipal Court. Cook’s attorneys have previously said the charge is unfounded.
His prosecutor also filed a civil lawsuit against Batali seeking indefinite damages for “severe emotional distress” that is still pending in Suffolk County High Court in Boston. Her lawyer did not respond to emails on Friday.
Batali is among a number of high-profile men who have faced public confrontation in recent years during the #MeToo social movement against sexual abuse and harassment.
The 61-year-old was once a member of the Food Network on shows such as “Molto Mario” and “Iron Chef America”. But the top career of a person with a ponytail and orange crocodiles has collapsed over allegations of sexual misconduct.
Four women accused him of inappropriate touching in 2017, after which he retired from day-to-day business in his restaurant empire and left since the abolition of the ABC cooking show “The Chew”.
Batali apologized, admitting that the accusations “coincide” with the way he acted.
“I made many mistakes and I am very sorry to have disappointed my friends, my family, my fans and my team,” he said in an e-mail newsletter at the time. “My behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility. “
Last year, Batali, his business partner and their New York restaurant company agreed to pay $ 600,000 to solve a four-year investigation by the New York Attorney General’s office into allegations that Batali, restaurant managers and other workers sexually harassed employees.
In Boston, in 2016, he opened a branch of the popular Italian food market Eataly in the Prudential Center, as well as Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca in the city’s Seaport district in 2015.
Batali has since been bought out of its stake in Eataly, which still has dozens of locations around the world, including Boston, and the city’s Babbo restaurant has since closed.