Mario Batali Displays Dramatic Weight Loss Amid Not Guilty Plea to Indecent Assault and Battery Charges

Mario appeared before a judge in Boston, Massachusetts on Friday looking significantly slimmed down following an on-going legal battle. The celebrity chef stands accused of indecent assault and battery stemming from a March 2017 incident in which he allegedly groped and kissed a woman without her consent.

Daily Mail obtained photos of Batali outside a municipal court in Boston on Friday after he entered a not guilty plea. The chef appeared wearing his hair in a ponytail, sporting a blazer, collared shirt and vest, photos showed. According to the outlet, he was quiet during the court appearance, nodding as the judge ordered him to stay away from his accuser.

Batali was released on his own recognizance, and will not have to appear at the next hearing. The case is set to go to trial once more on July 12.

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(Photo: JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images)

These are the first criminal charges against Batali following a series of sexual harassment and assault allegations against him in 2017.

The Boston Globe obtained copies of a criminal complaint filed by Batali's accuser, in which she alleged that she spotted the chef at Towne Stove and Spirits in Boston. She alleged that she attempted to take a photograph of him, and he noticed and called her over. The accuser feared he was going to reprimand her, or ask that she delete the pictures. Instead, court records show, he allegedly put his arm around her, groped her chest, touched her groin area, and then kissed her. The alleged victim did not consent to any of this behavior.

The woman alleged that Batali appeared intoxicated at the time, The Boston Globe reported. She said she was able to tell "by the smell and half-closed eyes." She also said he kept "pulling on her face" and invited her back to his hotel nearby. She declined, and left with a friend, The Boston Globe reported.

Batali's lawyer, Anthony Fuller, denied all the allegations against him in a statement to PEOPLE. He told the magazine the 58-year-old intended to fight the charges against him.

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

The alleged victim made similar allegations in an August 2018 lawsuit.

"Without asking her permission or giving her any warning, and without having received any indication that she had any sexual interest in him whatsoever, which she did not, Batali sexually assaulted her," the woman's lawyers wrote in a civil complaint, also obtained by The Boston Globe.

If convicted, Batali faces 2 1/2 years in jail, and would be required to register as a sex offender, the newspaper reported.

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Batali was also accused of sexual assault in December 2017, as noted by Eater. Several different women alleged that he groped them on different occasions in separate incidents that involved "inappropriate touching in a pattern of behavior that spans at least two decades." One of his accusers alleged that Batali drugged and sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious in 2005, she shared in a 60 Minutes interview.

Photo credit: JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images