Celebrity chef Mario Batali found not guilty in court in sexual assault case


Mario Batali was found not guilty of indecent assault and battery after Natalie Tene sued him for allegedly grouping her in a bar.

During the trial, which ended on Tuesday, March 10, Judge James Stanton said, according to multiple sources, that Batali’s behavior “is not befitting a public person of his level,” but that Tene has “serious trust issues” that support his “claim that her motive was financial gain.”

On the same day, Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden said he was disappointed with the verdict. “It can be incredibly difficult for a victim to disclose information about sexual assault,” Hayden said in a statement to CNN. “When the person who committed such a heinous act is in power or celebrity, the decision to report the attack can become even more difficult and frightening.”

Hayden noted that his office “will not withdraw our support for the victim in this case.”

Batali, 61, first made headlines in 2017 after several women came forward with allegations of unwanted offers and harassment. At least four women said he raped them.

At the time, the Washington native broke his silence on the claims. “I apologize to the people I mistreated and hurt. Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been disclosed to me, most of the behavior described actually coincides with how I acted,” he said in a statement to Eater in December 2017. This behavior was wrong, and there is no excuse for it. I take full responsibility and deeply regret any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my colleagues, employees, clients, friends and family.”

After new charges were filed in May 2018, the New York Police Department launched an investigation, which they closed a year later due to lack of evidence.

A year later, the restaurateur reflected on his decision to leave the spotlight. “I’m not going to live in public anymore,” he told New York Magazine in December 2018. — I am a happy person. Well, it was a bad year.”