A judge has thrown out a Denver radio host’s case against Taylor Swift in their dueling lawsuits over whether he groped her during a backstage meet-and-greet and whether she and her team ruined his career. (Aug. 11) AP
Taylor Swift began weeping during closing arguments Monday as her groping trial went to the jury shortly after noon.
The eight-member jury will now decide whether they believe an ex-radio DJ grabbed Swift’srear end in 2013, and whether her mother and a manager got him fired for doing it.
Swift began crying at one point during David Mueller’s attorney’s closing argument to the jury. He told them his client, 53 at the time of the encounter in question, did not grope Swift, then 23.
“I don’t know what kind of man grabs or gropes a music superstar … But it’s not that guy,” Gabriel McFarland said. He said the witnesses who testified they saw the groping, including Swift, were either lying or inconsistent in their stories.
“Nobody saw what Ms. Swift said happened…because it didn’t happen,” McFarland said. Mueller’s story has never changed, he said, in that he has always claimed he was falsely accused.
He said a photo of the encounter — which Swift said proved her story — showed that Swift’s facial expression was proof she wasn’t upset at the time. Both Swift and Mueller were shown smiling in the photo.
At that point, Swift began crying, wiping her face as her mother touched her daughter’s right leg and her lawyer rubbed her back.
Swift’s attorney, Douglas Baldridge, went next, reminding the jury that no one presented any evidence that Swift made up her story.
“Ms. Swift’s story never changed. Ever. For four years,” he told the jury. He called Mueller’s lawsuit against Swift “audacious and ridiculous.”
The real question, he said, is whether someone accused of sexual assault is able to sue his accuser. “Will aggressors like David Mueller be allowed to victimize their victims?” he said.
Mueller’s testimony that someone else might have groped Swift, including one of his bosses, was a “complete, made-up story to stick it to his boss two years after the fact,” Baldridge said. “He’s got no credibility.”
Once again, Swift was unseen in public as everyone else in her case, including her younger brother, Austin Swift, entered the courthouse in downtown Denver. Swift has been in the courtroom every day but has been escorted in via an entrance protected from the media; she has been seen only in courtroom sketches.
But Swift is already a winner in the federal case of dueling lawsuits: On Friday she was dropped as a defendant in Mueller’s 2015 lawsuit charging her with pressuring his Denver radio station KYGO to fire him for allegedly touching her inappropriately during a photo op at a pre-concert meet-and-greet.
U.S. District Judge William Martinez ruled in favor of Swift’s motion to drop her from the lawsuit on grounds Mueller and his lawyer failed to prove in four days of witness testimony that she personally intervened in any way with his bosses to get Mueller fired.
Her countersuit against Mueller, in which she charges him with assault and battery in connection with the alleged groping, remains in play.
And Swift’s mother, Andrea Swift, and the radio liaison on her management team, Frank Bell, remain as defendants in Mueller’s lawsuit so the jury will have those two questions to decide now that they have the case.
After huddling Monday morning, the judge ruled that each side got 50 minutes to sum up their case and 10 minutes of rebuttal. A verdict must be unanimous. If there is no verdict by 5 p.m., the jury will be released for the evening and return Tuesday.
Mueller is seeking compensation for loss of wages under his job contract with the radio station. Swift is seeking a symbolic $1 and the chance to demonstrate that women can fight back against sexual assault, even if it’s belated and even if it’s not in criminal court.
The trial began a week ago and was expected to last nine days, but testimony proceeded quickly. Plus, after Mueller rested his case on Friday, Swift’s attorney declined to call any witnesses to testify in her lawsuit, suggesting her legal team did not believe she needed to tell the jury anything further.
Swift, her mother, her security guard, her photographer and other witnesses took the stand during Mueller’s case and backed her version of their encounter.
Contributing: Allison Sylte, KUSA Denver, The Associated Press