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Michael Chiarello Responds to DUI and Drug Possession Arrest

Plus, an update on his sexual harassment lawsuit

Michael Chiarello Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for NYCWFF

It’s been about a day since news broke that celebrity chef Michael Chiarello was arrested this week in Napa for driving under the influence of alcohol and the possession of a controlled substance. Now, Chiarello has responded to the claims, via his spokesman:

Michael Chiarello disputes the misdemeanor charges filed against him. Although he is embarrassed and apologizes to his family, friends and business colleagues about this occurrence, he intends to vigorously challenge the misdemeanor charges filed against him.

In addition to the response, the timing of Chiarello’s arrest was interesting. It happened just days after a new development in his sexual harassment lawsuit from March. Chiarello and his restaurant group Gruppo Chiarello, which includes Coqueta in San Francisco and Bottega Ristorante in Yountville, were sued for a “sexually charged, hostile and abusive environment,” laid out in very graphic detail. The plaintiffs settled on October 31, according to a settlement notice filed yesterday. The terms of the settlement are undisclosed; all parties declined to comment.

Though Chiarello has now settled the sexual harassment lawsuit, the labor violation lawsuit from the same plaintiffs is still ongoing, with the next trial date set for March.