Defense Rests in Teamsters 'Top Chef' Extortion Trial


		Padma Lakshmi outside of Boston federal court ahead of her testimony on Monday			Pat Greenhouse  The Boston Globe  Getty Images

Pinterest Padma Lakshmi outside of Boston federal court ahead of her testimony on Monday Pat Greenhouse The Boston Globe Getty Images

Lakshmi, could testify as soon as Monday, Aug. 7, 2017, in a federal court trial in Boston where four Teamsters are accused of intimidating the staff and crew of the reality TV show when it was filming in nearby Milton, Mass., in June 2014.

Milton Valencia, a reporter for the Boston Globe, said of the trial in question, "One guy came up to the auto, and I had the windows down". He rested his arm on my door and kind of said, 'Oh, lookee here, what a pretty face.

Lakshmi said the man who spoke to her also shouted something "derogatory" to her driver. A fifth, 62-year-old Mark Harrington, took a deal and pleaded guilty to an attempted extortion charge in September. The conspiracy case began at Moakley Courthouse in Boston's Seaport District last week. "They didn't have any signs saying they were Teamsters".

The jurors have to decide whether the defendants' actions qualify as extortion. The Teamsters blocked entry to the set and tried to prevent trucks from getting through.

Ian Buchanan, a production assistant on the show, testified Friday that he got bumped from behind.

"Yeah, at least she knows I'm not a scab like you, you f***ing towelhead", the union member apparently said.

Lakshmi - a 1992 theater arts graduate of Clark University in Worcester who has hosted the Bravo cooking competition for 11 years - demonstrated how the man's face filled her window.

Lakshmi said her heart was pounding during the encounter and felt intimidated.

"You heard me, c***", the union member was filmed saying. Milton Police were also not asked to testify.

She added of the situation, "I don't like confrontation and this was certainly a very heated confrontation", noting that she feared retaliation from the Teamsters in other cities and was left afraid of her personal safety. "There was a lot of yelling, felt like really serious school yard bullying..." She said they approached her van and prevented it from entering the parking lot.

According to a report, the incident in question involved a confrontation between Teamsters and the show's production team at a Boston-area restaurant where they were filming a scene for the show back in 2014.

Padma Lakshmi was spotted in a Boston courtroom on Monday.

The Teamsters had threatened to picket if "Top Chef" producers didn't hire union drivers, according to the Boston Globe, and defense lawyers have said the union members have a right to picket if they choose.

Federal prosecutors have alleged in court papers that Lakshmi was confronted by Teamster John Fidler.

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