Celebrity chef Mario Batali has been cleared of sexual misconduct following 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 has a financial incentive to lie.
The judge found him not guilty on Tuesday. The chef had waived his right to a jury trial.
Batali had faced indecent assault and battery charges, which carried up to 2 1/2 years in prison. Batali’s accuser has also filed a lawsuit that’s pending. The career of the 61-year-old former Food Network fixture crumbled amid sexual misconduct allegations from four women in 2017.
After allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced, he was fired from the ABC show "The Chew." Batali was forced to step away from his restaurant empire.
Three of the restaurants were located in Las Vegas: Carnevino at the Palazzo, B&B Ristorante at the Venetian, and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria at the Grand Canal Shoppes. All three have since closed.
Batali reportedly paid a $600,000 settlement to employees who accused him of sexual misconduct.