A photo of Taylor Swift, fired radio host David Mueller and Mueller’s girlfriend is a key piece of evidence in Mueller’s suit claiming he was fired after being falsely accused by Swift of groping her in 2013. Taylor has countersued. (Aug. 8) AP
Taylor Swift took the stand Thursday in federal court in Denver to testify about what she says an ex-radio DJ did to her in 2013: grabbed her bare bottom during a pre-concert photo shoot.
She was firm, certain and explicit. She said former Denver radio host David Mueller “grabbed my a– underneath my skirt,” then she lurched away as fast as she could.
“It was a definite grab. A very long grab,” Swift testified. “It was a very shocking thing that has never happened to me before.”
After little more than an hour, Swift left the stand without being cross-examined.
During her testimony, she told an eight-member jury that Mueller appeared to show signs of someone who had a few cocktails. “He was loud.”
Swift repeated what she has said in depositions for the case, that she was certain it was Mueller and certain of what he did.
“I have experienced every degree of awkward first encounters,” she testified. “This was not jostling. He grabbed my bare a–.”
Despite being stunned, Swift said she said nothing to Mueller because she did not want other fans lined up to hear anything and she did not want to cancel the event and disappoint them.
The photo of the encounter shows, Swift testified, “he was in the process of grabbing my a–, yes.”
Swift and Mueller are battling each other in dueling lawsuits over whether he groped her four years ago, when she was 23 and he was 51, and whether she and her mother and management team got him fired for the alleged behavior.
The trial, which began Monday and is expected to last up to nine days, has already featured testimony from Mueller — who denied he deliberately groped Swift and suggested someone else might have done it — and her mother, Andrea Swift, who didn’t witness the encounter but believed her daughter who told her about it.
Swift testified that her security guard, Greg Dent, saw Mueller “lift my skirt” and grab her but that it was it was impossible for anyone to see his hand beneath her skirt because they were posing for a photo with their backs to a wall.
Swift said Thursday that someone would have had to have been underneath her to see the actual groping “and we didn’t have anyone positioned there.”
A tearful Andrea Swift took the stand Wednesday, pointed to Mueller and declared “that guy” had “sexually assaulted” her daughter during a photo op at a pre-concert fan meet-and-greet.
Taylor Swift said she had nothing to do with Mueller’s firing (two days after the encounter) and that she had no reaction when she heard about it.
Did she think Mueller got what he deserved? “I don’t feel anything about Mr. Mueller. I don’t know him,” Swift replied.
Later on Thursday, one of Mueller’s bosses at KYGO radio, Bob Call, took the stand to testify that the photo of the encounter played a role in Mueller’s termination under a morality clause in his contract. Call said it unquestionably showed Mueller’s hand behind Swift’s bottom.
Call testified that he and other station bosses thought the photo of the encounter was “damning,” as Swift’s lawyers maintain; he said he had never seen a photo from a meet-and-greet that resembled it. But Call also said that Mueller was fired because Call believed he was lying about his interaction with Swift. (Swift’s team asserts Mueller changed his story about the matter multiple times.)
Mueller sued Swift and her team in 2015, two years after the encounter, seeking millions in compensation for loss of his job and reputation after, he asserted, they slandered him and pressured his bosses to fire him. Swift then countersued him, accusing him of deliberately groping her, and denying she or her team had anything to do with his firing.
Two years later, after settlement talks failed, they’re facing each other in a federal courtroom.
Swift is seeking a symbolic $1, saying she wants to serve as an example to other women who have been assaulted. She did not report the alleged assault to police at the time.
Andrea Swift acknowledged in court Wednesday that she sought to keep a lid on the encounter in order to protect her daughter.
“I did not want to make her relive this moment over and over again,” she said. She said Taylor was “humiliated” and “really shaken” after the encounter.
“We absolutely wanted to keep it private, but we didn’t want him to get away with it,” she testified.
Mueller has testified that he did not deliberately touch Swift inappropriately, but that he might have accidentally touched her in the rib area in his hurry to jump into the photo shoot with her.
He also acknowledged that his bosses had discussed letting him go before the Swift encounter, and that he could think of no reason why Swift would have fabricated her allegation against him.
Contributing: The Associated Press; Bobbi Sheldon, KUSA in Denver