Assault charge against celebrity Austin chef Paul Qui dropped


Highlights

Prosecutor Fred Weber said he dropped charges on Monday because Qui’s former girlfriend declined to cooperate.

Qui had been charged with assault and unlawful restraint after a fight with his girlfriend.

Prosecutors have dropped misdemeanor charges against celebrity Austin chef and restaurant owner Paul Qui in connection with a March 2016 domestic disturbance.

With the case set for trial this week, special prosecutor Fred Weber abandoned charges Monday because Qui’s former girlfriend declined to cooperate.

“We’re very pleased that it’s finally over,” said Qui’s lawyer, Chris Gunter. “It was all an unfortunate misunderstanding that everyone regrets happened. Paul turned it into a positive experience and obtained some needed treatment. I think everybody has come out of this thing better.”

Qui, the Season Nine winner of the Bravo cable TV show “Top Chef” and past owner of his namesake restaurant, was charged with assault and unlawful restraint after a friend of Qui’s told police Qui was fighting with his girlfriend.

According to the arrest affidavit, Qui had blood all over his face, arms, legs and clothing when officers arrived at the Corazon apartments in East Austin.

The arresting officer reported that the apartment was “in complete disarray, and furniture and glass were broken” or turned over throughout the home.

Police found Qui’s live-in girlfriend inside the apartment clutching a small boy, the affidavit said. The woman told police that she had tried to leave the apartment but that Qui had stood in front of the door and pushed her away or to the floor each time she tried to go.

According to the affidavit, she said that Qui had invited some friends to the apartment the night before and that “they were all indulging in cocaine, Xanax, alcohol and marijuana.”

Qui, who was 35 at the time of the incident, admitted getting angry with his girlfriend and told police it was because she was flirting with his friends and had agreed to have group sex, the affidavit said.

The officer said he noticed that there was a “fresh cut on her right forearm and bruising on her upper arms” and that the right side of her jaw was slightly puffy and swollen, the affidavit said.

Qui, a James Beard Award-winning chef, owns the East Side King brick-and-mortar restaurants and trailers that serve Asian fusion cuisine in Austin.



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