Celebrity chef Mario Batali pleaded not guilty to indecent assault and battery charges in Boston, Massachusetts, on Friday. The felony criminal charges are the first Batali has faced since he was accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct. The charges stem from an alleged assault on a woman in 2017 at a Boston restaurant. The famous chef allegedly groped a woman while they were taking a picture together. According to court documents, Batali grabbed her breast and put his hand between her legs. He then allegedly held her face and kissed her cheek and mouth. The woman has said that she believes Batali was drunk, based on his smell and half-closed eyes.
Anthony Fuller, a defense attorney representing Batali, has denied the charges. “Mr. Batali denies the allegations in both this criminal complaint and the civil complaint filed last August,” Fuller said in a statement. “... He intends to fight the allegations vigorously and we expect the outcome to fully vindicate Mr. Batali.” Three months ago, Batali surrendered his stake in all of his restaurants, following several accusations that the chef sexually harassed and assaulted women.