BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Celebrity chef Mario Batali was found not guilty on charges of indecent assault and battery at Boston Municipal Court Tuesday afternoon.
Judge James Stanton issued the verdict after Batali had waived his right to a jury trial when proceedings opened on Monday.
Batali, 61, was accused of kissing and groping a woman without her consent while they were taking a selfie at Towne Stove and Spirits in the Back Bay in 2017.
Batali's accuser took the stand Monday, saying she was "shocked" and "confused" by Batali's actions. On Tuesday, a friend of the accuser testified about text messages they exchanged the morning after the alleged assault.
Batali's lawyers argued that photo and video evidence does not show assault or battery, and that the accusations were financially motivated.
The defense did not call any witnesses to the stand and Batali did not testify in his defense.
In reading his verdict, Judge Stanton said that he found credibility issues with the accusations, and that the Commonwealth did not meet the burden of proving the allegations against Batali beyond a reasonable doubt.
A civil lawsuit against Batali by the accuser seeking unspecified damages for "severe emotional distress" is still pending in Suffolk County Superior Court.
Multiple sexual misconduct accusations against Batali surfaced in 2017, leading the chef and restaurateur to step away from the public eye and cut ties with his restaurant group in 2018.
Last year, Batali settled sexual misconduct cases out of New York for around $600,000.