Natalie Tenney said she posed for pictures with Batali while, outside the frame, he tapped into a star-studded patron as she was standing near him to take pictures.
“His right hand covers my entire breast, on my back end, and it’s all between my legs,” said Tine. “I’ve never been held like this before…I press and pull my vagina in. As if this is a natural way to lure someone in.”
He denied these allegations and pleaded not guilty. “The images and videos do not support her testimony,” defense attorney Anthony Fuller said during his opening statement Monday.
Tenny testifies that she was “nervoused, shocked, and terrified”
Tinny testified on Monday, when she met a friend at about 9 p.m. on March 31, 2017, at Towne Stove and Spirits, a Boston restaurant the couple frequently visit.
Tinny recognized Batali as she was sitting near her at the bar around midnight, she said. She testified that Batali was a few seats away when she tried to secretly take a picture of him on her phone.
Teni said her friend told her that Patali had caught her sneaking into the photo and wanted her to come, possibly to delete the photo. Tinny walked over and apologized to Batali, she said, and promised to delete the photo if he wanted.
Tinny testified, “He said, ‘No, it was fine, don’t worry, let’s actually take some selfies instead.
Teni took about 10 selfies with her phone at about 12:37 a.m., she said, and their heads, faces, shoulders, and anything that could fit in the frame were visible.
“His face pressed against my face as he pulled my body close to him,” she said.
“He’s kissing the side of my face. He has his other arm behind me,” Tenney said while showing the photos in court. She noted that they took some pictures, saying they weren’t very good because they weren’t looking at the camera.
“His hands were in sensitive areas and he touched me and touched my body,” she said. “It was like a selfie, but other things were happening simultaneously… His other hand that could not be seen was touching my body in sensitive areas.”
Batali continued to ask for more selfies and can be heard asking “Does that work” in one of the live photos, she said.
“It all happened so fast and it was happening all the time, in different parts,” Tinny said, recounting the ways Batali allegedly grabbed her. “I kind of froze to be honest,” she said. “I draw a smile to calm the situation. Kind of nervous, shocked, anxious.”
Tinny noticed Batali’s eyes weren’t open in some of the photos and that they smelled of alcohol, she said. “This guy got lost, for lack of a better term,” Tenney said.
Batali then allegedly asked Tini to come to his hotel room, and testified that she got goosebumps when he asked.
“Something like that, terrified, disgusting,” said Tenney. “That feeling that this wasn’t right. In general, this was very uncomfortable.”
Tinny left and went home. Later, she told her friend about the alleged attack and said the couple had agreed never to eat again at Eataly, an Italian food market owned by Batali at the time.
Tinny later said she spoke to an Eater journalist, detailing her account after the reporter wrote a story about other women who were allegedly captured by Batali.
Tene has hired legal representation and filed a civil lawsuit, she said, but says she’s not looking for the money.
“This happened to me and this is my life and I want to take control of what happened, come forward and say my article,” Tinny said.
Defensive questions, motives, and pictures
Defense attorney Fuller questioned and questioned Tenney regarding the night of the alleged assault and her subsequent motives.
Fuller reviewed every photo that Tenny took of her and Batali and focused on one photo that showed a space between where they stood, highlighting that the floor tiles were visible in the photo between the two.
“He was holding you, holding you close, right?” asked Fuller, who said there was roughly eight inches of space between the pair.
“It sure was,” replied Tenney.
“It doesn’t look like that in this photo,” Fuller said.
“He’s grabbing my ass,” Tinny said.
Fuller highlighted a time gap between the first batch of photos and the second batch, three minutes later. Fuller argued that the time gap showed it was not in danger. He also challenged Tenny to her facial expression in the photos, saying it wasn’t a grimace as she witnessed it, but a smile.
Tenny was also questioned about eating at Batali-owned restaurants, although she told investigators in one of the deposits that the idea of eating in those restaurants was disgusting. Fuller showed her bank statements revealing that she ate at Italy with a friend who was aware of the alleged attack.
Fuller also showed court photos taken at the same pub, Towne Stove and Spirits, where the alleged attack took place, the night before Eater published a story with her allegations.
When asked why she wasn’t provoked by being in the same place and back several times after the alleged attack, Tinny replied: “Town wasn’t the scary place, it was the scary guy. I was very comfortable there.”
Tenney also disputed Fuller’s line of questioning about financial motives and the appointment of legal counsel.
“I’m not looking for anything, I’m not looking for any particular amount,” Tenney said. “What other way is there to rectify this situation? I’ve never been in a situation like this before.”
Fuller spent the rest of his questioning trying to establish inconsistencies in Tenny’s story, speaking about her alleged attempts to get out of jury duty and alleging that she had ridiculed the incident for texting her friends.
Prosecutors plan to call a witness to the stand Tuesday morning who say he heard the full story from Tenny about a week after the alleged harassment incident.
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