The trial began in Boston on Monday after Batali waived his right to a jury trial. A judge will decide the chef’s fate at the conclusion of the trial.
Batali has been accused of groping a Massachusets woman while she was attempting to take a selfie with him at a Boston-area bar in 2017.
While being questioned by prosecutors Monday, the 32-year-old said Batali appeared drunk and was slurring his words and closing his eyes as they took multiple photos together at his insistence.
The woman also testified that she felt embarrassed by the 2017 incident – until she saw other women step forward to share similar encounters with Batali.
“This happened to me and this is my life,” said the woman when asked by prosecutors why she also decided to speak out. “I want to be able to take control of what happened, come forward, say my piece and have everyone be accountable for their actions and behaviors.”
Batali’s lawyer Anthony Fuller argued the assault never happened and that the accuser isn’t a credible witness and has a financial incentive to lie.
He also suggested she joked about her encounter in text messages with friends and ate at Eataly, the Italian marketplace Bataly once owned, after the encounter.
“She’s not being truthful,” Fuller said. “This is being fabricated for money and for fun.”
Batali pleaded not guilty to a charge of indecent assault and battery in 2019.
If convicted, Batali would be required to register as a sex offender and could serve two and a half years in the Suffolk County House of Correction.
The woman has also filed a civil lawsuit against Batali that is still pending. She is requesting unspecified damages for “severe emotional distress.”
Batali’s food empire included such high-end eateries as Babbo in Del Posto in New York City as well as restaurants in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Singapore. He became a household name through appearances on Food Network shows such as “Iron Chef America.”
After four women accused him of sexual misconduct in 2017, Batali stepped down from running his restaurants and was removed from the hit ABC cooking show, “The Chew.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.