Chef Mario Batali Found Not Guilty In Sexual Misconduct Case
Famed former Food Network chef Mario Batali was acquitted on Tuesday after being accused of indecent assault and battery at a Boston restaurant in 2017.
Judge James Stanton found Batali not guilty. If he had, he would have been classified as a registered sex offender and faced up to two and a half years behind bars.
Natali Tene, Batali’s accuser, testified that she had met a friend at Towne Stove and Spirits when she noticed the renowned chef sitting near her. She tried to sneak a selfie with him, but he caught her and beckoned her to come over to him. She thought he was upset, and she offered to delete the photo, but he instead offered to take a selfie with her. When Tene was close enough for both of them to fit in the frame, she claimed that Batali touched her inappropriately and kissed her cheek and mouth.
Batali was intoxicated, according to the incident report.
When she tried to pull away, Tene said that he insisted they keep taking photos and invited her to his hotel room. She said that she declined and left with her friend.
Stanton ruled that Batali may not have “covered himself in glory on the night in question,” but said that Tene has “significant credibility issues” that back the defendant’s argument that she accused Batali for financial gain. Specific instances that came up included around eight inches of space between the two in the selfies taken that night and Tene’s involvement in a different case where she allegedly tried to use a fake document to get out of paying a $200 gym membership.
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