Taylor Swift trial, Day 4: DJ rests case; witness says he saw grope

Taylor Swift trial, Day 4: DJ rests case; witness says he saw gropeEntertainment

Fans line up early to watch the civil trial between pop star Taylor Swift and her courtroom opponent, former DJ David Mueller. Mueller contends Swift cost him his job, while she alleges he groped her at an event four years ago. (Aug. 11) AP

The fast-moving Taylor Swift groping trial reached a pivot point Friday when the man Swift accuses of groping her rested his case following his last witnesses, including a security guard who said he saw the alleged grope.

Witness testimony continued for a fourth day in the federal civil trial in Denver over dueling lawsuits by Swift and David Mueller, the ex-Denver DJ she accuses of “lifting my skirt and grabbing my bare a–” at a pre-concert photo shoot in 2013.

Around noon, Mueller’s attorney, Gabriel McFarland, rested his case, the lawsuit Mueller filed against Swift. After a lunch break the trial is to resume to take up Swift’s lawsuit against Mueller.

First up on Friday was Swift’s former security guard, Greg Dent, who was present for the encounter in question and could see both the front and the back of Swift. He said he had no doubt about what happened. 

“When he went to put his arm around her, his hand went under her skirt,” Dent testified.  “I thought it was a violation of her body.”

But he didn’t take action. He let Mueller leave the photo booth, he said, because “sometimes (Taylor) said I was too mean.”

He said he was always concerned about Swift’s “fan-friendly” approach at meet-and-greets. After the 2013 encounter, he said, he told men at such events with Swift to “keep their hands up high.”

Next up was Mueller’s longtime friend and radio co-host, Ryan Kliesch, who testified he never saw him treat a woman poorly.

And Mueller’s then-girlfriend, Shannon Melcher, who was with him during the encounter with Swift and in the picture, took the stand to say Mueller was never disrespectful to or inappropriate with women. He even encouraged her to complain to station bosses when someone else at the radio station groped her at a different concert, she said.

She said she didn’t notice anything untoward during the photo shoot, and later Mueller never changed his denials about the alleged groping. When she asked him directly if he had done it, Melcher said, his response was, “How could you ask me that?”

But if Swift felt she had been groped, she said, then she had the right to press the radio station to investigate her allegation. Her former boyfriend’s lawsuit against Swift argues that Swift pressured the station to fire him, thus allegedly “interfering” with his employment contract. 

The Friday witnesses were not as dramatic as Swift herself, who spent an hour on the stand Thursday strongly asserting that she was certain Mueller was the man who groped her. She also jousted with his attorney about whether it was her fault that he was fired by his radio station two days later.

On the stand, Swift, who has proclaimed her sexual-assault lawsuit against Mueller as standing up for abused women, said she was frozen with shock and humiliation during the encounter. Then 23, she was worried about making a scene and ruining the meet-and-greet for her fans who were waiting.      

Four years later, the singer, now 27, was firm, explicit (she repeated the word a– dozens of times) and more than ready to lock horns with Mueller’s lawyer, McFarland, when she contemptuously denied having anything to do with getting Mueller fired, as claimed in his lawsuit against her.

“I’m not going to allow you or your client to make me feel in any way that this is my fault,” Swift said. “Here we are years later, and I’m being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are the product of his decisions — not mine.”

Whatever the effect on the six women and two men on the jury, media accounts of Swift’s testimony elicited tweet-cheering and metaphorical high-fives on Twitter. Lena Dunham praised her “fierce” testimony.

 

Contributing: Allison Sylte, KUSA, The Associated Press 

 

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