Celebrity chef Mario Batali’s pandemic-delayed trial on sexual misconduct allegations opens Monday in Boston.
Batali pleaded innocent to a charge of indecent assault and battery in 2019, stemming from accusations that he forcibly kissed and groped a woman after taking a selfie with her at a Boston restaurant in 2017. The woman complained Batali noticed her photographing him and invited her to take one together, then touched and kissed her repeatedly without her consent.
If convicted, Batali could face up to 2 1/2 years in jail and be required to register as a sex offender. He’s expected to be in court throughout the proceedings, which should last a couple of days once jury selection concludes, said Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden’s office. Lawyers for Batali didn’t comment ahead of the start of jury selection Monday in Boston Municipal Court. The chef’s lawyers have previously said the charge is without merit.
His accuser has also filed a civil lawsuit against Batali seeking unspecified damages for “severe emotional distress” that’s still pending in Suffolk County Superior Court in Boston. Her lawyer, however, didn’t respond to emails Friday.