Padma Lakshmi may testify in 'Top Chef' Boston Teamsters trial
UPI News Service, 08/02/2017
"Top Chef" star Padma Lakshmi is expected to testify in the competition series' trial against four Boston Teamsters that has gotten underway.
Four men of Teamsters Union Local 25 in New England are charged with trying to extort a nonunion production company that was filming episodes of "Top Chef" in June 2014, ABC News reported.
The four men -- defendants Michael Ross, John Fidler, Robert Calarelli and Daniel Redmond -- who have pleaded not guilty, set up along with other Teamsters picket lines outside the Steel & Rye restaurant in Boston because the Bravo reality series was filming with nonunion workers.
The indictment charges the defendants with one count of conspiracy to extort and one count of extortion and states that the Teamsters harassed and threatened the production company.
"The defendants continued to use and threaten to use physical violence ... yelled profanities and racial and homophobic slurs ... [and] blocked vehicles," the indictment says.
Lakshmi previously explained to federal prosecutors that she felt threatened when she arrived on set with one of the defendants approaching her car to proclaim, "We're going to bash your pretty little face in."
Jury selection for the trail began Monday with U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock explaining to prospective jurors that "some of the evidence may involve racial and ethnic slurs," Deadline reported.
Local 25's former secretary-treasurer Mark Harrington pleaded guilty to extortion charges in December and is currently serving six months of home confinement.
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Opening arguments in the trial are expected to begin Tuesday.
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