Superstar chef Mario Batali, whose profession crumbled amid a number of sexual misconduct accusations, pleaded not responsible on Friday to a cost that he forcibly kissed and groped a girl at a Boston restaurant in 2017.
Batali, 58, sporting his signature purple ponytail and a blazer, didn’t communicate throughout the temporary listening to however nodded because the choose ordered him to keep away from the lady.
The court docket entered a not responsible plea on his behalf to a cost of indecent assault and battery. Batali was launched on his personal recognisance. He won’t have to look on the subsequent listening to, scheduled for July 12.
It is the primary legal cost levied in opposition to Batali following sexual harassment and assault allegations that first surfaced in 2017.
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The girl says Batali observed her taking a photograph of him on the restaurant and invited her to take a selfie with him. She says Batali then groped and kissed her repeatedly with out her consent.
The girl filed a civil lawsuit in opposition to Batali in August, looking for unspecified damages for “extreme emotional misery.”
Batali’s lawyer has stated the cost is “with out advantage.”
“He intends to battle the allegations vigorously and we count on the end result to completely vindicate Mr. Batali,” lawyer Anthony Fuller stated.
The girl’s attorneys applauded the Suffolk District Legal professional’s Workplace for bringing the case.
“Mr Batali have to be held accountable criminally and civilly for his despicable acts,” legal professionals Eric Baum and Matthew Fogelman stated.
Batali may withstand 2-1/2 years in jail, if convicted. He would additionally need to register as a intercourse offender.
Batali’s meals empire included such high-end eateries as Babbo in Del Posto in New York Metropolis in addition to eating places in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Singapore. He grew to become a family identify by means of appearances Meals Community reminiscent of Iron Chef America.
He stepped down from operations of his eating places and was kicked off the ABC present The Chew in 2017 after 4 girls accused him of inappropriate touching.
Batali stated on the time about these allegations that “a lot of the behaviour described does, actually, match up with methods I’ve acted.” He additionally got here underneath fireplace for sending a publication to subscribers that included each an apology for “many errors” and a recipe for a “holiday-inspired breakfast.”
Batali introduced in March that his longtime associate, Joe Bastianich, and others had purchased out his share in his eating places.
The New York Police Division stated final 12 months that it was investigating allegations of sexual misconduct in opposition to the chef after a girl advised “60 Minutes” that Batali drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2005. Batali denied assaulting the lady.