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Celebrity chef Mario Batali, center, is seated next to defense attorney Anthony Fuller, left, at Boston Municipal Court for the first day of Batali’s pandemic-delayed trial, Monday, May 9, 2022, in Boston. Batali pleaded not guilty to a charge of indecent assault and battery in 2019, stemming from accusations that he forcibly kissed and groped a woman after taking a selfie with her at a Boston restaurant in 2017. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool)
BOSTON – Celebrity chef Mario Batali’s sexual misconduct trial is resuming Tuesday in Boston.
The trial in Boston Municipal Court opened Monday with Batali waiving his right to a jury and opting instead to have a judge decide his fate.
The 32-year-old woman who says the former Food Network star kissed and groped her while attempting to take a selfie at a Boston bar in 2017 also testified that she’d felt confused, powerless and embarrassed to share her story until other women stepped forward to share similar encounters with Batali.
But Batali’s lawyer sought to discredit her, arguing that the assault never happened.
He said the accuser has a financial incentive to lie as she’s seeking more than $50,000 in damages from Batali in a separate civil lawsuit.
Batali, who pleaded not guilty to indecent assault and battery in 2019, could face up to 2 1/2 years in jail and be required to register as a sex offender if convicted.
The 61-year-old, who was once a fixture on shows like “Molto Mario” and “Iron Chef America,” is among a number of high-profile men who have faced a public reckoning during the #MeToo social movement against sexual abuse and harassment in recent years.
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