But after plea negotiations apparently fell through, Fabbri’s attorney, Eugene Maurer, asked Superior Court Judge E. Scott Bradley to postpone the chef’s scheduled Dec. 9 trial so that both sides could continue to work out a deal. Maurer’s request was later granted, and Fabbri’s new case review is scheduled for Jan. 22 with a new trial date set for Jan. 29.
Fabbri and his companion, Christina Lombardi, were arrested on May 30 in the Delaware beach town of Lewes for possession of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute, among other offenses. The Lewes Police Department had allegedly found 191 grams of cocaine and $3,201 in their possession. The cocaine had a street value of more than $19,000, police said.
Because of the amount of cocaine allegedly in their possession, Fabbri and Lombardi were charged with a “tier 5” felony, which carries the most severe penalties in Delaware. By state statute, anyone in possession of more than 15 grams of cocaine (considered “tier 3”) is automatically charged with drug dealing. They were also arrested in a school zone, considered an aggravating factor in the state.
As he awaited his case review before Bradley, Fabbri laid out more details of his arrest in late May. He said that he and his girlfriend got into a fight during a brief trip to the resort town. He initially jumped into his gray BMW X5 by himself to get away from the argument but circled back to pick up Lombardi. But the argument continued, and Lombardi eventually got out of the vehicle to walk around the Highland Acres neighborhood. She, Fabbri said, placed the 911 call about their domestic dispute. A police report at the time noted that both Fabbri and Lombardi had minor injuries.
Lombardi, the chef said, was also the one who had the cocaine in her possession. He said he had no clue that she was carrying the drugs in her purse. He added that the police found no drugs in his confiscated BMW, which was eventually returned to him after a couple of months.
Lombardi declined to comment on her case.
Because he allegedly had no drugs in his possession, Fabbri had hoped state prosecutors would drop the charges. But Fabbri said Delaware Department of Justice prosecutors wanted him to enter the same drug diversion program that a Superior Court judge had offered to Lombardi earlier Wednesday. If she successfully completes the six-month program — which apparently includes passing 18 consecutive urine tests — the state will drop the charges against Lombardi, said her attorney Tom Pedersen.
But Fabbri rejected the deal, he said, which he did not think was fair. Plus, he said, he had already spent several months in rehab immediately after his arrest in May. He said he plans to present prosecutors with his certificate from a Kolmac Outpatient Recovery Center.
“It will work out,” Fabbri said. “It’ll just take some time.”
A native of Monsummano Terme, Italy, about 30 miles northwest of Florence, Fabbri first came to prominence as the chef at Tosca, the downtown Italian fine-dining destination favored by the city’s power players. Last year, Fabbri decided to open his own restaurant. He took over the former Thally space in Shaw and turned it into San Lorenzo, named after the chef’s young son and his favorite neighborhood in Florence.
In May, weeks before the chef’s arrest in Delaware, former president Barack Obama and several past members of his administration enjoyed a four-hour tasting menu at San Lorenzo. Obama had previously dined at Tosca under Fabbri’s watch and had the chef cook at the White House.
Fabbri isn’t doing much cooking these days. He said that he suffered a small fracture on his left foot after an accident at the gym. He decided not to wear his foot brace into the courthouse and instead limped into Superior Court on a crutch.