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Batali on trial

Chef Mario Batali waives right to a jury trial in sexual misconduct case

Mario Batali's sexual misconduct trial has kicked off with the disgraced chef waiving his right to a jury. 

In a Boston court on Monday, Batali requested a non-jury trial in his misconduct case, meaning the outcome will be decided by a judge, The Associated Press reports.

Batali has been charged with indecent assault and battery after allegedly groping and kissing a woman, Natali Tene, without consent in 2017 after she asked to take a photo with him at a restaurant. He has pleaded not guilty. Tene has also sued Batali. 

The trial comes more than four years after Batali first faced allegations of sexual misconduct in 2017, which led to his exit from the talk show The Chew. He was also later accused of sexual assault. Batali apologized for his "many mistakes" in 2017.

"My behavior was wrong and there are no excuses," he said. "I take full responsibility." 

In an opening statement on Monday, prosecutor Nina Bonelli alleged Tene "wanted to get a celebrity picture with a celebrity chef, the defendant," but "instead of just selfies, the defendant began groping Ms. Tene's body," per Reuters. Bonelli also said Tene "realized it wasn't an isolated incident" when other allegations against Batali emerged in 2017. 

Batali's attorney, meanwhile, denied the incident ever occurred and accused Tene of fabricating her allegations "for money and for fun." Batali could face over two years in jail if convicted.