BOSTON (WHDH) — Opening statements took place Tuesday in the federal trial in Boston of four Teamsters accused of intimidating the staff and crew of the “Top Chef” reality TV show.
Prosecutors allege the Local 25 union members threatened to picket if the show’s producers did not hire union drivers. They also said union members threatened and harassed the crew of the show’s non-union production company.
In opening statements Tuesday, prosecutors laid out a case in which they said the four men physically confronted the production crew, yelling profanities, racial and homophobic slurs, and also slashing car tires. They said police stood by and did nothing.
When Top Chef star Padma Lakshi arrived to film, prosecutors said on of the Teamsters threatened to “smash her pretty little face.”
The men have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to extort, and aiding and abetting. Lawyers for the Teamsters said their clients were just exercising their right to picket.
In a plea agreement with prosecutors, a fifth Teamster pleaded guilty last year to attempted extortion and was sentenced to two years’ probation with six months of home confinement. Mark Harrington told a judge he was merely trying to get jobs for union members.
Jury selection began Monday.
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