Mario Batali pleads not guilty to assault charges

Andrew Weber
May 24, 2019 - 12:45 pm
Celebrity chef Mario Batali leaves Boston Municipal Court following an arraingment on a charge of indecent assault and battery in connection with a 2017 incident at a Back Bay restaurant

Scott Eisen / Stringer

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS/AP) — Celebrity chef Mario Batali pleaded not guilty Friday in to charges he forcibly kissed and groped a woman in a Boston restaurant.

The not guilty plea was entered an a charge of indecent assault and battery.

Batali did not speak but nodded when the judge ordered him to stay away from the woman he allegedly groped.

Batali was released and he does not have to show up at his next court hearing, currently scheduled for July 12.

This is the first criminal charge Batali faces after a string of sexual harassment allegations appeared in 2017.

The woman says Batali saw her snapping a picture of him at a restaurant and invited her to take a selfie with the two of them.

She says next Batali groped and kissed her without her consent.

She has also filed a civil lawsuit against the chef.

Batali has not commented, but his lawyer said earlier this week that the charges are "without merit."

He could face up to 2 and a half years in jail if convicted and could have to register as a sex offender.

Batali's restaurants had included high-end Italian joints Babbo and Del Posto in New York as well as eateries in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Singapore.

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