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‘Frantic,’ ‘distressed,’ ‘violated’: Taylor Swift describes alleged groping in deposition

A Denver jury decided country radio DJ David Mueller did grope Taylor Swift before her concert there in 2013. They awarded Swift a symbolic $1 in damages. (Video: Nicki DeMarco/The Washington Post)

During the past year, which Taylor Swift has mostly taken off from music save for one surprising concert, the pop star has (unsurprisingly) continued to make headlines.

First, there was her breakup with Calvin Harris. Then there was her fleeting, Instagram-ready relationship with Tom Hiddleston.

But one dark cloud hung over much of the year: her drawn-out legal battle with Denver country radio DJ David Mueller.

It began in June 2013, when, after performing a concert at Denver’s Pepsi Center, Swift attended a meet-and-greet. During that event, which Mueller attended with his girlfriend Shannon Melcher, he allegedly groped Swift while the couple took a photograph with her.

Later in the evening, Swift’s security team approached him and accused him of groping the superstar, Billboard reported.

Mueller was fired from KYGO, the station where he DJ’d, a few days later.

In response, Mueller filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Denver claiming that he lost his job — and was banned from Swift’s future concerts for the rest of his life — based on false allegations. He claimed that it was, in fact, a co-worker who had groped Swift. He claimed that his “superior” at KYGO, Eddie Haskell, “described and demonstrated how he had put his arms around her, hands on her bottom.”

“Mueller steadfastly maintains that no inappropriate contact of any kind occurred between him and Ms. Swift,” the filing, obtained by the Denver Post, stated.

In response to that lawsuit, Swift filed a counter suit in October 2015 in which she demanded a jury trial. If she wins, she claimed that she would donate any proceeds to “charitable organizations dedicated to protecting women from similar acts of sexual assault and personal disregard.”

“Ms. Swift knows exactly who committed the assault — it was Mueller — and she is not confused in the slightest about whether her long-term business acquaintance, Mr. Haskell, was the culprit,” the counter suit states, according to People. “Resolution of this Counterclaim will demonstrate that Mueller alone was the perpetrator of the humiliating and wrongful conduct targeted against Ms. Swift, and will serve as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts.”

One thing Swift has sought is that the photograph taken at that meet-and-greet, which allegedly shows Mueller groping Swift, be sealed from the public. Her lawyers argued it shouldn’t be shared with the public because “it is all but assured that the photograph will be shared for scandalous and prurient interests.”

On Friday, a judge agreed to seal the photograph but denied her request to withhold other evidence.

Billboard obtained a transcript of a video deposition Swift gave in July, in which she offered a more detailed account of events from that day in June 2013 than had been previously reported.

“Right as the moment came for us to pose for the photo, he took his hand and put it up my dress and grabbed onto my ass cheek and no matter how much I scooted over it was still there,” Swift said. “It was completely intentional, I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life.”

She also explained the emotional toll the alleged assault has taken on her.

“I remember being frantic, distressed, feeling violated in a way I had never experienced before,” Swift said in the deposition. “A meet-and-greet is supposed to be a situation where you’re thanking people for coming, you’re supposed to be welcoming people into your home, which is the arena for that day, and for someone to violate that hospitality in that way, I was completely stunned.”

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