Mario Batali not guilty in sexual misconduct trial, judge rules

The defense did not call any witnesses during their second day in court

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A judge has handed down a not guilty verdict for Mario Batali. 

When both the prosecution and the defense rested Tuesday in celebrity chef Batali's sexual misconduct trial in Boston Municipal Court, the decision was then left to the presiding judge. 

The defense did not call Batali to the stand, as previously anticipated. 

CHEF MARIO BATALI'S ACCUSER TESTIFIES IN SEXUAL MISCONDUCT TRIAL

The trial began Monday with the former Food Network star waiving his right to a jury trial, leaving the decision up to the presiding judge. Counsel delivered closing arguments later Tuesday, after which the judge delivered the verdict.

In announcing his decision, Boston Municipal Court Judge James Stanton agreed with the contention that the accuser had credibility issues. Both the accuser and Batali left the courtroom without speaking to reporters.

Celebrity chef Mario Batali is seated at Boston Municipal Court on the second day of his sexual misconduct trial on Tuesday, May 10, 2022.

Celebrity chef Mario Batali is seated at Boston Municipal Court on the second day of his sexual misconduct trial on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. (Stuart Cahill/The Boston Herald via AP, Pool)

Batali, 61, was previously accused of groping and kissing a woman at a Boston bar in the Back Bay area in 2017 while intoxicated. According to the 32-year-old software company worker, she was trying to take a selfie with the chef when the incident happened.

The woman testified the first day in court, recounting her initial shock. She explained her embarrassment after the incident until she heard other women sharing similar stories about Batali.

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Batali's lawyer, Antony Fuller, argued to discredit the woman, saying she had financial motives to accuse Batali as she was currently seeking $50,000 in damages from the chef in a separate Boston-based civil lawsuit. 

Batali faced up to two and a half years in prison if he was convicted and would have been forced to register as a sex offender. He is one of several high-profile men to be accused in the #MeToo movement.  

The Associated Press contributed to this report.