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Judge Clears Celebrity Chef Mario Batali In Sexual Misconduct Case

Celebrity chef Mario Batali was cleared of sexual misconduct after a criminal trial in Boston. A woman had accused Batali of forcibly kissing and groping her while taking a selfie at a restaurant in 2017. Batali’s lawyer argued that the Boston assault never happened and said the accuser had a financial incentive to lie about the encounter, The Guardian reports. A judge found Batali not guilty on Tuesday. The chef had waived his right to a jury trial, leaving his fate in the hands of Judge James Stanton.

Batali pleaded not guilty to indecent assault and battery charges, which was punishable by up to two and a half years in prison and potential sex offender registration. His accuser has filed a lawsuit that remains pending despite the verdict in Boston municipal court. The career of the 61-year-old former Food Network star crumbled amid sexual misconduct allegations from four women in 2017. The accuser in this week’s trial, a 32-year-old software company worker, testified that she had felt confused, powerless and embarrassed to share her story until other women stepped forward to share similar encounters with Batali during the early phase of the #MeToo social justice movement. Before the misconduct accusations against him, Batali had been a fixture on shows like Molto Mario and Iron Chef America.


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