One day after Taylor Swift took the stand in court to defend herself against allegations that she got a Denver country radio DJ fired after false accusations that he groped her, a judge has thrown out the DJ’s claims, citing insufficient evidence.
Nearly two years ago, former KYGO radio host David Mueller sued Swift, claiming he lost his job when she and her team accused him of lifting her skirt and touching her buttocks during a meet-and-greet photo backstage at her June 2013 concert at the Pepsi Arena in Denver. He denied groping the pop megastar and reportedly asked for up to $3 million in damages. In return, Swift countersued Mueller for assault and battery.
The two lawsuits went to trial in front of an eight-person jury in Denver this week — on Friday evening, U.S. District Judge William Martinez dismissed Mueller’s claims that Swift was personally responsible for him losing his job, according to the Associated Press. The jury will return Monday to consider Mueller’s claims that Swift’s mother, Andrea Swift, and radio promotions representative, Frank Bell — who called Mueller’s boss to report his alleged behavior — got him fired, the AP reported. Swift’s claim of assault and battery will also go forward.
Mueller sued Swift for “tortious interference,” meaning that he believes the singer and her team intentionally tried to get him fired by accusing him of behavior that they knew violated his employment contract at the radio station.
“The judge concluded Andrea testified she was angry about the alleged assault and wanted Mueller terminated from his job but that Swift herself had only confided in her mother and didn’t participate in the decision to contact KYGO,” People magazine reported, adding that Swift “dabbed at her eyes with tissues and was visibly relieved” when she heard the judge’s ruling.
Swift made headlines for her very blunt answers to Mueller’s attorney’s questioning on Thursday, as he asked whether Swift was critical of her bodyguard for not interfering if Mueller had really touched her. Swift replied, “I’m critical of your client sticking his hand under my skirt and grabbing my ass.” When he pointed out that Swift could have taken a break during the meet-and-greet if she was so upset, she answered, “Your client could have taken a normal photo with me.”
Mueller testified he did nothing wrong and that he thought he might have touched her ribcage when he got in the photo at the last minute; Mueller has also said it was his radio station boss who touched Swift.
“[Mueller] had a handful of my ass. I know it was him,” Swift said. “It was a definite grab. A very long grab,” she added, saying that Mueller’s hand “stayed latched on to my bare ass cheek.”
Both sides tried to use the meet-and-greet photo as evidence, which Swift’s attorney contends is proof he touched her, and Mueller’s lawyer says doesn’t show her dress out of place at all.
“This is a photo of him with his hand up my skirt, with his hand on my ass,” Swift said on the stand. “You can ask me a million questions — I’m never going to say anything different. I never have said anything different.”
Swift’s mother took the stand earlier this week and said she “wanted to vomit and cry at the same time” when her daughter told her about what happened. Her bodyguard at the time, Greg Dent, testified that he saw Mueller’s hand “under her skirt,” though he didn’t see him physically touch her.
Shannon Melcher, Mueller’s former girlfriend who was also in the photo with Swift, testified that Mueller was “devastated” by the accusation on the night of the concert. Melcher said she didn’t see what happened because she was facing forward. “I wasn’t paying attention directly to what he was doing to get into the photo,” Melcher said, according to the Denver Post, who added that Melcher’s testimony echoed Mueller’s.
In her assault and battery lawsuit, Swift is asking for damages of $1; her attorney says that her suit “will serve as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts.”