Everything You Need To Know About Mario Batali's Long-Delayed Trial

Celebrity chef Mario Batali's trial for sexual misconduct began today in Boston after being postponed due to the pandemic.

According to the Associated Press (AP), Batali is facing charges of indecent assault and battery stemming from an accusation that he non-consensually kissed and groped a woman in a Boston restaurant in 2017. In May 2019 he pled not guilty, per the New York Times, but the trial has only now been able to proceed. During his first day in court, Batali waived his right to a jury trial, choosing instead to plead his case directly to Boston Municipal Court Judge James Stanton (via Reuters).

Part of the #MeToo movement, Batali was accused by at least four women of inappropriate touching and sexual harassment. Following the accusations, the chef experienced a fall from grace. Batali — who had once cooked at the White House for a state dinner with the Prime Minister of Italy and was known for his appearances on ABC's "The Chew" and the Food Network — left television and was bought out of his restaurant partnerships by his co-owners, as reported by Eater. As part of the State of New York's investigations into misconduct by Batali and other employees, Batali's former company B&B Hospitality (which was co-owned by Joe Bastianich, according to The Guardian) had to pay a $600,000 settlement to 20 employees in July 2021.

Batali pleads not guilty

While Batali issued a controversial apology for his actions in December 2017 (Time reported he wrote in a newsletter, "I have made many mistakes and I am so very sorry that I have disappointed my friends, my family, my fans and my team. My behavior was wrong and there are no excuses," then followed the statement up with a recipe for holiday cinnamon rolls) he is denying wrongdoing in the ongoing Boston criminal case, per the AP.

The case is being brought because of allegations made by one of Batali's early accusers, who Eater reported was at one time a fan of the celebrity chef. According to the woman's account, she was at Boston bar Towne Stove and Spirits when she saw Batali, who the accuser said appeared to be drunk. She stated he offered to take a selfie with her, but during the encounter, she alleges he repeatedly kissed and inappropriately touched her. She is also bringing a personal lawsuit against Batali for "severe emotional distress" stemming from the incident, according to the AP.

Batali's lawyer has denied these claims, accusing her of lying for financial gain and pointing out her own admitted dishonesty during a jury selection process in which she claimed to be clairvoyant. The proceedings are expected to last about two days, and if convicted Batali would face up to two and a half years in prison and would have to register as a sex offender.