The Verdict Is In For Mario Batali's Sexual Misconduct Trial

Mario Batali, the former Iron Chef who once ran a string of successful restaurants, hasn't been exactly flavor of the month in the food world for quite some time now. In the late 20-teens, a number of disturbing allegations surfaced about how he treated his female employees, and last year he and his business partners had to fork over $600,000 in a settlement with former employees (both men and women) who claimed that they'd been sexually harassed on the job. (This was peanuts, however, when compared to the $5.25 million he'd been compelled to cough up a decade ago when accused of cheating employees out of their rightfully-earned tips.)

It wasn't only those who worked for Batali who had complaints about his alleged inappropriate actions, though. Recently he's been in court to stand trial on charges of groping a woman who wanted to take a picture of the celebrity chef. If he were to be found guilty of these latest charges, he'd be facing a possible prison sentence and would likely be added to his state's sex offender registry. Well, after just a single day of deliberation – Batali having waived his right to a trial by jury - the verdict is in.

The judge found Batali not guilty on all charges

Judge James Stanton, who presided over the trial, determined that Batali was not guilty of the charges of indecent assault and battery that were brought against him. Batali's unnamed acccuser is a 32-year-old woman who works in the software industry, and as AP News reports, she claims to have been "shocked, surprised and alarmed" when she took a selfie with Batali at a Boston restaurant in 2017 and found herself being pawed and kissed. The reason for her lawsuit, she explains, is because "I want to be able to take control of what happened, say my piece, and have everyone be accountable for their actions." Judge Stanton, however, suspects she may have a different motivation.

Stanton explains his not guilty verdict by saying, "The witness has significant credibility issues," among them the fact that she previously attempted to evade jury duty by claiming psychic powers. She is also suing Batali for $50,000 worth of damages, something that led the defense attorney to characterize her claims as being "fabricated for money and for fun." We may never know the truth about what really happened the day of the alleged assault, but it seems we may be in for a Round 2 of "he said, she said" once the civil suit gets underway.