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Jury selected in Taylor Swift groping case



Taylor Swift has a jury — and a circus.


As legions of fans stood outside a Denver courthouse Tuesday morning, two men and six women were selected to decide whether a middle-aged disc jockey groped the superstar singer.


The 27-year-old Swift claims that ex-radio host David Mueller grabbed her buttocks during a meet-and-greet photo session at a 2013 concert in the Colorado capital.


Mueller, a deejay making $150,000 a year for country station KYGO, filed the first legal volley claiming he was fired over the incident and denying that he ever touched Swift.

Taylor Swift appears in court for jury selection in groping case


Mueller, now 55, sued the star for $3 million.


Swift counter-sued, alleging that she was sexually assaulted. She’s seeking one dollar and has said she will donate the money to charitable organizations “dedicated to protecting women from similar acts of sexual assault and personal disregard.”


Swift arrived in court Tuesday morning dressed conservatively in a black suit with her blonde hair tied back in a bun.


Mueller was also wearing a black suit on the second day of the anticipated nine-day trial.

An explainer of Taylor Swift’s legal battle against Denver DJ


U.S. District Judge William Martinez swore in the last juror, a white-haired woman, after axing a middle-aged man who admitted, “(Swift’s) music is catchy and good vibes.”


“My wife loves her music,” the juror added, “and we enjoy listening to it as a family and dancing to it sometimes.”

Tree Paine (center), Taylor Swift’s publicist, walks in to attend the jury selection phase in a civil trial to determine whether a radio host groped the pop singer.

Tree Paine (center), Taylor Swift’s publicist, walks in to attend the jury selection phase in a civil trial to determine whether a radio host groped the pop singer.

(David Zalubowski/AP)


Tuesday ended an extraordinary selection process that saw prospective jurors asked such questions as whether they liked Swift’s music and whether or not they had ever been groped.


And, for the second day, court officials braced themselves for the singer’s ardent fans known as “Swifties” who arrived en masse to attend the proceedings — starting at the crack of dawn.

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Dani Kuta, Lucy Peterson and Grace Jarecke — all high school students — woke up at 3 a.m. to be the first people in line.


“We only got two hours of sleep,” giggled Peterson, 17, who aspires to a career in journalism.


By 4:15 a.m., the trio were standing outside the U.S. District Court building in the dark, a block away from the Greyhound station in downtown Denver, an area known for crime and vagrancy.


“Our parents were OK with it, and that was a surprise,” Jarecke said. “We didn’t get hassled by anyone.”

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By daybreak, a dozen Swift fans had joined the three high school students. By 7 a.m., the line stretched down the block.


The civil trial will focus on the events of June 2, 2013, when Mueller and his erstwhile girlfriend Shannon Melcher met the then-23-year-old Swift backstage at the Pepsi Center.


What’s beyond dispute is that they posed together for a quick photo.


Within minutes, Mueller was escorted out of the building by Swift’s bodyguards, after being accused of reaching under the singer’s dress and grabbing her butt cheek.

An explainer of Taylor Swift’s legal battle against Denver DJ


One fan lined up outside — a high school cheerleader — gushed about being at the show where the incident took place.


“I went to the concert wearing my cheer captain outfit to honor her song “You Belong With Me,” said Avery Tellam, 18, with a smile.


Tellam, wearing a University of Colorado sweatshirt, black leggings, and white sneakers covered with yellow Woodstock images from the Peanuts cartoon, said she was proud of her role model “standing up against sexual assault.”


Ten-year-old Vega Zaringlee also commended the singer for not relenting in the legal battle.

Taylor Swift appears in court for jury selection in groping case


“As a young woman I think it’s really important that we stand up for ourselves, and she has been a role model for me that way,” Zaringlee said.


Just behind the Zaringlee was a Swift fan who didn’t quite look the part.


Anthony Reyther, 29, stood in line stoically, his long, bushy, black hair falling down on both sides of his face and punctuated by a stud piercing above his left eye.


“I don’t think groping is good in any situation, and I hope things turn out OK for her,” Reyther said.

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Reyther, the lead guitarist in a heavy metal band called Immortal Synn, was wearing all black, including a long sleeve T-shirt with the blood red insignia of Dokku, a popular heavy metal band from the 1980s.


“I like her music,” he said. “I’m here to support her.”

Tags:
taylor swift
denver
colorado
sex crimes

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