Jury selected, trial underway in Taylor Swift's groping case

Jury selected, trial underway in Taylor Swift's groping caseEntertainment

Taylor Swift fans are hoping to glimpse the celebrity singer at a Denver federal court Tuesday as her civil trial involving a groping allegation against a former DJ moves forward. (Aug. 8) AP

Taylor Swift was present Tuesday in Denver as an eight-member jury was selected to hear her civil trial against former Denver radio host David Mueller.

The jurors were picked from a pool that once included 60 people who were questioned about their feelings about Swift and Mueller.

Opening statements began, with Mueller’s lawyer, Gabriel McFarland, telling the jury that inappropriate touching is offensive and wrong but that “falsely accusing someone of inappropriate touching is equally offensive” and wrong.

Swift’s attorney, Douglas Baldridge, said in his opening statement that Mueller gave seven accounts of what happened and destroyed taped conversations about it with his bosses, who fired him.

Baldridge asked jurors: “What’s wrong with this picture? A woman gets assaulted, a woman reports it, and she gets sued.”

The attorney says Swift is seeking a symbolic $1 in her counterclaim and isn’t trying to bankrupt Mueller. He says she’s showing others that “you can always say no.”

Swift and Mueller have sued each other over  whether or not he groped her in 2013 and whether or not she got him fired for the alleged groping.

Outside the federal courthouse, cameras caught Swift’s fans gathering, some since dawn, to scoop up tickets to sit inside the courtroom once the trial began.

Swift’s publicist, Tree Payne, was spotted striding into the courthouse. Many lawyers were spotted, but not Swift, which suggests the singer entered the courthouse via a secluded entrance. 

According to the Associated Press, Swift and Mueller were seated at separate tables with their lawyers. As on Monday, Mueller had his back turned to Swift.

The case stems from an encounter the two had during a photo shoot at a pre-concert fan meet-and-greet in Denver in 2013. He was fired by his radio station two days later after being accused of inappropriately touching Swift’s bare bottom” during the photo shoot.

Two years later, he sued Swift, her mother Andrea and her management team, denying he groped her and accusing them of slander and getting him fired.    

Swift then countersued him, accusing him of groping her, and denying that she did anything to get him fired.

He is seeking $3 million in damages; she is seeking just $1. After two years of hearings and depositions, and no sign that either side would agree to resolve the matter out of court, the case has finally come to trial, which is expected to last nine days.

As is customary in civil trials, potential jurors had to fill out a long questionnaire in which they were asked about whether they are fans of either Mueller or Swift, whether they had ever seen Swift in concert, downloaded or purchased her music, or attended the 2013 concert in question. 

They also were asked whether they had seen any photographs related to the case, possibly a reference to a photograph of the encounter between the two, which has been sealed.

It’s also been disputed: Swift’s lawyers called the image “damning” proof that Mueller inappropriately touched her. Mueller argues it merely shows him trying to jump into the picture.

Contributing:The Associated Press

 

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