Celebrity chef Mario Batali was found not guilty Tuesday of indecent assault and battery.
The trial in Boston Municipal Court began Monday. His accuser, a 32-year-old woman from Boston, took to the stand to testify that the celebrity chef groped, kissed, and licked her in 2017.
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Judge James Stanton admitted that Batali's conduct was "not befitting of a public person."
"He's paid a high cost in terms of diminished reputation and financial loss," Stanton said.
Stanton also referred to evidence that the woman previously got out of jury duty by claiming to be clairvoyant. The judge referred to her behavior as "offensive to the rule of law."
Batali avoided 2 1/2 years in jail and would have been required to register as a sex offender. His accuser also filed a separate civil case against him in August in Suffolk County Superior Court, where she's seeking $50,000 for “severe emotional distress.”
Batali, 61, was a fixture on several different Food Network shows. He was working on ABC's The Chew when four women came out with allegations of sexual misconduct. As a result, he left the now-discontinued program.
“I have made many mistakes,” Batali wrote in an email newsletter at the time. “My behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility.”
In 2021, Batali, his business partner Joseph Bastianich, and their New York restaurant company B&B Hospitality agreed to pay $600,000 to 20 more employees to end a four-year investigation into Batali's alleged sexual misconduct.
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The chef has been bought out of his stake in Boston's Eatly restaurant, and the Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca restaurant there is closed.