Celebrity chef Mario Batali expected to be arraigned on assault charge

An attorney speaking on Batali's behalf said the celebrity chef denies the allegations.

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By Phil Helsel

Celebrity chef Mario Batali is expected to be arraigned on an indecent assault and battery charge in Boston on Friday, a spokesperson for the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office said Wednesday.

Batali, 58, is scheduled to be arraigned in Boston Municipal Court, Renee Nadeau Algarin, deputy press secretary to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, said in a statement to NBC Boston.

Algarin said the alleged incident occurred at a Back Bay restaurant on March 31, 2017.

In a criminal complaint filed April 4, a woman told police that she saw Batali at Towne Stove and Spirits on Boylston Street and that she tried to take a selfie over her shoulder with the celebrity chef in the background.

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Batali allegedly noticed that and told the woman to come over. The woman went to apologize and Batali said it was OK and offered to take a selfie with her, according to the criminal complaint.

The woman told police that Batali then grabbed her chest, kissed her and touched her without consent, the complaint said. After she pulled away, Batali allegedly kept "pulling on her face" and then asked if she wanted to go to his hotel room.

She declined.

The woman has also filed a lawsuit, obtained my NBC News, saying that Batali's alleged actions were "dehumanizing" and "humiliating."

The woman's lawyer, Eric M. Baum, has identified her as Natali Tene. "Natali is grateful that the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office in Boston has chosen to go forward in prosecuting Mario Batali on criminal charges of sexually assaulting her," Baum said in a statement. "In doing so, the DA’s Office has taken a strong stance in advocating on behalf of our client."

An attorney speaking on Batali's behalf said in a statement to NBC Boston that Batali denies the allegations.

"Mr. Batali denies the allegations in both this criminal complaint and the civil complaint filed last August,” attorney Anthony Fuller said in the statement to the station Wednesday night. "The charges, brought by the same individual without any new basis, are without merit. He intends to fight the allegations vigorously, and we expect the outcome to fully vindicate Mr. Batali."

Batali was fired from ABC's "The Chew" in December 2017 and took a leave of absence from day-to-day operations of his businesses after the foodie website Eater.com reported allegations of sexual misconduct.

Batali apologized after those allegations were reported in December, saying: "Much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behavior was wrong, and there are no excuses."

In March, Batali was bought out of his restaurant group, Tanya Bastianich Manuali and Joe Bastianich of the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group said. The chef said in a statement at the time that he reached an agreement with Bastianich and no longer had any stake in the group, and wished Bastianich well.