- Mario Batali’s accuser texted a friend that she’d “of course” play up the story of his alleged sexual misconduct.
- During cross-examination, Natali Tene acknowledged the text to her friend was hers.
- Tene has accused Batali of forcibly kissing her and groping her while taking photos at a Boston bar.
The woman who accused celebrity chef Mario Batali of sexual misconduct texted a friend that she would “of course” play up the story of the incident, according to messages revealed at Batali’s criminal trial.
Natali Tene, 32, testified in Boston Municipal Court on Monday that Batali forcibly kissed her and groped her at a Boston bar in 2017 as the two took photographs together.
During her cross-examination, defense attorney Anthony Fuller showed text messages between Tene and her friend.
After the alleged incident, a friend texted Tene to “just play up the story,” to which she responded, “of course,” according to the Boston Globe.
Tene said she did not remember sending the texts but confirmed they were from her.
Fuller accused Tene of making up details of her 2017 encounter with Batali and tried to poke holes in her credibility.
Fuller also noted that during a jury selection in 2018 – one year after the alleged assault – Tene claimed she was clairvoyant and did not list herself as a crime victim.
He claimed Tene did not take her past jury duty job seriously and accused her of lying for money – claims she denied.
Tene said she did consider herself to be clairvoyant, but acknowledged she tried to use it as an excuse to get out of jury duty.
Tene also said that the jury duty occurred before she filled out a report with the Boston Police Department regarding the alleged Batali incident, and she had not yet considered herself to be a crime victim.
Tene testified on Monday that a drunken Batali repeatedly kissed and groped her without her consent at the now-closed Towne Stove and Spirits near Boston’s Eataly on March 31, 2017.
She was “really shocked, surprised, alarmed,” by the incident and left feeling “mortified” and “disgusted, she testified.
Batali pleaded not guilty in 2019 to a charge of indecent assault and battery in connection to the case. If convicted, he faces up to 2-and-a-half years in jail and would be forced to register as a sex offender.