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Taylor Swift fans waited outside a Denver courthouse on Wednesday for a chance to see the pop star in court in a civil case she has lodged against a DJ accused of groping her. (August 9)
AP

The Taylor Swift-vs-ex-DJ groping trial moved through a second day of testimony in federal court Wednesday in Denver as her mother, Andrea Swift, took the stand and pointed to David Mueller, declaring “that guy” had “sexually assaulted” her daughter. 

“She was really shaken. She was humiliated,” a tearful Andrea Swift told jurors.

But Mrs. Swift said she didn’t actually see the encounter at a pre-concert photo op in 2013 that has led to a civil trial between her daughter and Mueller over their dueling lawsuits.

Breaking into tears at times, she said Taylor told she had been groped, and she was so upset she felt like “I wanted to vomit and cry at the same time.” She said Swift’s management team contacted Mueller’s radio station because they wanted them to know what happened, hoping he would be fired but not demanding or asking them to fire him. 

She said she didn’t report the encounter to police because she didn’t want it define her daughter’s life, but she was certain it happened.

“I knew exactly what happened. He sexually assaulted her — right there, that guy,” Mrs. Swift said, pointing to Mueller.

Frank Bell, the pop star’s radio liaison, was last to take the stand late Wednesday, testifying that Swift told him she was “pretty sure (Mueller) was a radio guy” because they’d talked about KYGO (the radio station Mueller works for). But Swift didn’t recognize him from any prior meetings.

Bell also testified that Andrea Swift asked him to communicate with KYGO “as soon as possible” to “inform the station of what had happened.

Bell said he asked Mueller’s employer to investigate the encounter but didn’t request that Mueller be fired. Instead, Bell said he sought “appropriate action.”

The encounter did change the way Team Swift operated, her mother said earlier on the stand.

“It made us do a bunch of things different,” said Andrea Swift, specifying her daughter will no longer perform in the crowd at concerts. “Our meet and greets are much smaller. We now have metal detectors. We now do background checks. It scared us really badly.”

Did Mueller deserve to be fired? “He committed a sexual assault on my daughter. He absolutely did,” she testified.

Both Mrs. Swift and Bell’s testimonies followed the continuation of Mueller’s cross-examination by Swift’s lawyers earlier on Wednesday.

Mueller has acknowledged that a photo of him with his hand behind Taylor Swift is “weird and awkward,” but he says he never groped her rear as she alleges.

Mueller says his hand was touching Swift’s skirt after he put his arm around her and their arms got crossed. He said his hand was at rib-cage level and “apparently it went down.”

Swift’s attorney Douglas Baldridge showed the jury several photographs of fans meeting with Swift during the photo op, including another man who had his arm around Swift’s shoulder.

Baldridge also told the jury that Swift’s bodyguard, Greg Dent, testified in a deposition that he saw Mueller lift Swift’s skirt during the encounter, and her photographer, Stephanie Simbeck, testified in a deposition that she heard Swift say “that guy” had grabbed her behind. Dent and Simbeck are listed as possible witnesses.

Mueller’s lawyers are expected to begin calling his witnesses, including an expert who will testify about Mueller’s lost income after he was fired by his radio station following the encounter with Swift. 

The trial resumed after a delay Wednesday when Judge William Martinez cleared the courtroom for a sidebar huddle about evidence with lawyers on both sides.

Mueller told the eight-member jury on Tuesday that he did not intentionally grope Swift’s bottom in the 2013 encounter. Instead, he said, he may have touched Swift’s “rib cage, or rib, or ribs” with a closed hand as he tried to jump into the photo with the pop star.

In his opening statement, Mueller’s lawyer, Gabriel McFarland, portrayed Mueller as a victim — of Swift’s mistaken identification of him as the groper, and of her alleged pressure on his bosses to punish him. He said inappropriate touching is wrong, but “falsely accusing” someone of the offense is also wrong.

But Mueller was subjected to aggressive questioning by Baldridge, who described him as desperate for attention, cash and revenge.

Mueller was fired by his radio station two days after the encounter with Swift, and sued her, her mother and her management team two years later, seeking $3 million in compensation for lost income and for allegedly ruining his reputation.

Swift then countersued Mueller, identifying him as the man who groped her. She is seeking a symbolic $1 to serve as an example to other women who have been assaulted that “you can always say no,” her lawyer told the jury. 

The civil trial, before a jury of six women and two men, is taking place in the federal courthouse in downtown Denver; it’s expected to last nine days.

On Tuesday, jurors were shown a photo taken of Swift and Mueller during the encounter in question, which shows Mueller with his hand behind Swift, just below her waist. Both are smiling in the picture.

Swift’s lawyers argue the photo is “damning proof” that something untoward happened. Mueller’s lawyer rejected that argument. 

“If you look at that photograph, his hand is not underneath Miss Swift’s skirt, and her skirt is not rumpled in any fashion,” McFarland told the jury.

One of Mueller’s station bosses, Hershel Coomer, also is scheduled to testify at the trial. Mueller testified Tuesday that Coomer told him that he had met Swift earlier before the concert and that “he told me that he had his hands on her butt.”

Mueller thought then Coomer was just telling “one of his stories.”

But under cross-examination, Mueller acknowledged he didn’t tell another boss investigating Mueller’s encounter with Swift about the exchange with Coomer, and he couldn’t explain why he didn’t say anything.

Baldridge also pressed Mueller to concede that he couldn’t think of a reason why Swift would have fabricated the groping accusation and that various supervisors with his radio station had discussed the possibility of letting him go even before the encounter with Swift.

Contributing: The Associated Press, KUSA TV in Denver

  • Fans line up for seat at Taylor Swift trial

    Fans line up for seat at Taylor Swift trial

  • Swift thanks fans for showing up at trial

    Swift thanks fans for showing up at trial

  • Photo at center of Taylor Swift groping trial

    Photo at center of Taylor Swift groping trial

  • Taylor Swift fans show support at civil trial

    Taylor Swift fans show support at civil trial

  • Taylor Swift and radio DJ heading to court

    Taylor Swift and radio DJ heading to court

  • Taylor Swift, former radio host head to court over groping claim

    Taylor Swift, former radio host head to court over groping claim

  • Taylor Swift, former radio host head to court over groping claim

    Taylor Swift, former radio host head to court over groping claim

 

 

 

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