Judge throws out DJ's case against Taylor Swift

A defiant and occasionally exasperated Taylor Swift insisted during testimony in Denver on Thursday that a disc jockey grabbed her bare backside and held on for a long time during a meet-and-greet before a concert. (Aug. 10)

Taylor Swift’s he-said-she-said groping trial raced to an end Friday with a major victory for Swift: A judge threw out the lawsuit filed against her by the ex-Denver DJ she says groped her in 2013.

U.S. District Judge William Martinez in Denver sent the eight-person jury home for the weekend and then ruled in favor of Swift’s motion to end David Mueller’s lawsuit against her on grounds he failed to prove she was personally responsible for getting his being fired after their encounter.

However, Swift’s mother and management remain defendants in Mueller’s lawsuit and the suit will go to the jury.

The jury will decide whether they find in favor or against Swift – on her claim that Mueller groped her – and also whether they find in favor or against Mueller on his claim that her mother and management interfered with his employment contract.

After the judge ruled, Swift and her legal team hugged, smiled and whispered. Mueller's team did not talk to one another or anybody else.

The ruling came on the fourth and final day of testimony in the dueling-lawsuits case. Mueller’s legal team rested their case Friday and said they would call no more witnesses to testify. Swift’s legal team declined to call any witnesses in her countersuit against Mueller, in which she accused him of indecent assault and battery stemming from their encounter.

On Monday, the eight-member jury is expected to return and hear instructions and closing arguments. Mueller is seeking compensation for loss of wages and damaged reputation. Swift is seeking a symbolic $1 in her lawsuit and the opportunity to serve as an example to other women who have been assaulted.

Mueller sued Swift in 2015, accusing Swift, her mother, Andrea Swift, and her management team of pressuring his radio station to fire him two days after he allegedly groped her bare backside during a pre-concert photo shoot.

Swift denied she had anything to do with the firing. Then she countersued Mueller accusing him of groping her. During the testimony, no evidence was presented that proved Taylor Swift did or said anything to the radio station to ruin Mueller's career.

The fast-moving trial, which started Tuesday afternoon, reached a pivot point when Mueller rested his case following his last witnesses, including a Swift ex-security guard who said he saw the alleged grope.

Later, Swift's legal team declined to call any witnesses to testify in her countersuit in which she accuses Mueller of "lifting my skirt and grabbing my bare a--" at the 2013 meet-and-greet.

 

Around noon, Mueller's attorney, Gabriel McFarland, rested his case, arguing Swift, her mother and her management team got his client fired.

First up on Friday was Swift's former security guard, Greg Dent, who was present for the encounter in question and could see both the front and the back of Swift. He said he had no doubt about what happened.

“When he went to put his arm around her, his hand went under her skirt," Dent testified.  "I thought it was a violation of her body."

But he didn't take action. Dent said let Mueller leave the photo booth, he said, because "sometimes (Taylor) said I was too mean."

He said he was always concerned about Swift's "fan-friendly" approach at meet-and-greets. After the 2013 encounter, he said, he told men at such events with Swift to "keep their hands up high."

Next up was Mueller's longtime friend and radio co-host, Ryan Kliesch, who testified he never saw him treat a woman poorly.

And Mueller's then-girlfriend, Shannon Melcher, who was with him during the encounter with Swift and in the picture, took the stand to say Mueller was never disrespectful to or inappropriate with women. He even encouraged her to complain to station bosses when someone else at the radio station groped her at a different concert, she said.

She said she didn't notice anything untoward during the photo shoot, and that later, Mueller never changed his denials about the alleged groping. When she asked him directly if he had done it, Melcher said, his response was, "How could you ask me that?"

But if Swift felt she had been groped, Melcher said, then she had the right to press the radio station to investigate her allegation.

The Friday witnesses were not as dramatic as Swift herself, who spent an hour on the stand Thursday strongly asserting that she was certain Mueller was the man who groped her. She also jousted with his attorney about whether it was her fault that he was fired by his radio station two days later.


On the stand, Swift, who has proclaimed her sexual-assault lawsuit against Mueller as standing up for abused women, said she was frozen with shock and humiliation during the encounter. Then 23, she was worried about making a scene and ruining the meet-and-greet for her fans who were waiting.     

Four years later, the singer, now 27, was firm, explicit (she repeated the word a-- dozens of times) and more than ready to lock horns with Mueller's lawyer, McFarland, contemptuously denying having anything to do with getting Mueller fired, as claimed in his lawsuit against her.

“I’m not going to allow you or your client to make me feel in any way that this is my fault,” Swift said. “Here we are years later, and I’m being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are the product of his decisions — not mine.”

Whatever the effect on the six women and two men on the jury, media accounts of Swift's testimony elicited tweet-cheering and metaphorical high-fives on Twitter. Lena Dunham praised her "fierce" testimony.

Contributing: Allison Sylte, KUSA, The Associated Press 

© 2017 Associated Press


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