Mario Batali asked on Friday that photos and text messages on a cell phone belonging to a woman who accuses him of groping and forcibly kissing her are preserved because his lawyers say they could help prove his innocence.
Batali, 58, pleaded not guilty to an accusation of indecent aggression and drums for allegedly touching Natali Tene's breasts, buttocks and groin before holding her face while kissing her on the mouth and on her face in a bar in Boston in 2017. Tene was identified by her attorney, Eric M. Baum, who represents her in a separate civil lawsuit against the disgraced celebrity chef.
Tene said she had been with a friend at Towne Stove and Spirits on Boylston Street since he noticed the famous chef and took a selfie with him from a shoulder, according to an accident report, which added that Batali she noticed and called, offering to take a close selfie with her.
When she got close enough to take the picture, Batali first put her arm around her and grabbed her breast, then grabbed her buttocks and approached her, reported the accident report. He then proceeded to touch Tene's crotch on his clothes and "held his face" as he kissed her cheek and mouth.
"The victim realized that Batali was intoxicated by the smell and the half-closed eyes", reported the accident report.
But Batali's lawyers said that in the courts of the Boston Municipal Court, although Tene claims the temptation occurred while the photos were being taken, 11 photos and five live photos on the phone show no "indecent touch".
They also said that while Tene told the detectives he sent messages to two friends on the night of the accident, she did not mention the alleged attack in those texts. Instead, he sent photos of herself with Batali, and made fun of her appearance. Batali's team believes that the following text messages will also reveal that Tene never told his friends about the accident.
Batali and its lawyers have requested that Tene data, data and e-mails and cloud-based social media profiles be stored "to avoid the unintended destruction or destruction, deletion or manipulation of highly relevant information and in this case. "
The Suffolk County district attorney's office, which is pursuing the case, did not immediately return a request for comment.
Baum, who represents Tene in his civil case, replied that the photos and texts "speak for themselves and show Mario Batali inappropriately and with the force that touches it".
Baum told NBC News that Batali refuses to testify in civil proceedings in an attempt to invoke the fifth amendment and avoid anything potentially self-incriminating in the midst of criminal proceedings.
In the accident report, Tene said that after Batali attempted, she invited him to join him at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, but she refused. The separate civil case Tene stated that the alleged actions of Batali were "dehumanizing" and "humiliating".
Tene was one of the numerous alleged victims of Batali who came forward after four other women said Eater New York that Batali tempted them and made inappropriate comments of a sexual nature. His alleged behavior lasted more than two decades.
The chef, who was a presenter on ABC's "The Chew" and has invested in more than a dozen restaurants, said he would move away from "my day-to-day operations," and was subsequently fired from "The Chew "", which was later canceled.
The Food Network also canceled plans for the relaunch of "Molto Mario", which was broadcast for the first time in 1996 and launched Batali as a celebrity. And in March, Batali was bought by his group of restaurants.