Mario Batali has been found not guilty of indecent assault and battery charges dating back to May 2019. The verdict was delivered on Tuesday, May 10th, in Boston Municipal Court by Judge James Stanton after the celebrity chef waived his right to a jury decision.
Judge Stanton made the ruling after a day and a half of testimony, primarily from the woman who accused the former Food Network personality of groping and kissing her without consent at a Boston bar in April 2017. “It’s an understatement to say that Mr. Batali did not cover himself in glory on the night in question,” the judge said (via The New York Times), while acknowledging the accuser “has significant credibility issues.”
Batali did not testify. He was facing up to two and a half years in jail and would have been required to register as a sex offender.
Although Batali was acquitted in this instance, allegations of his misconduct against four different women surfaced in 2017 during the height of the #MeToo movement. Batali admitted the women’s stories “match[ed] up with the ways” he acted and stepped away from many of his businesses, as well as a gig as a co-host on the ABC talk show The Chew.
Last June, Batali and his business partner agreed to pay a $600,000 settlement following a four-year New York attorney general’s office investigation into allegations that Batali and other staff sexually harassed employees.