A JUDGE has thrown out a radio DJ’s case against Taylor Swift in a trial that delved into their dueling lawsuits over whether he groped her during a backstage incident and whether she and her team ruined his career.
US District Judge William Martinez determined that the pop star could not be held liable because David Mueller failed to prove that she personally set out to have him fired after the 2013 photo op. His identical allegations against Swift’s mother and her radio liaison will go to jurors for a verdict.
Mueller denies groping Swift and sued the singer, her mother, Andrea Swift, and their radio handler, Frank Bell, seeking up to $3 million as compensation for his ruined career.
The singer-songwriter said in her countersuit that she wanted a symbolic $1 and the chance to stand up for other women. The jury will still consider her claim. Swift teared up as the judge read his decision, saying there was no evidence that her actions were insincere. Afterward, her team smiled and embraced. Mueller’s side didn’t speak.
The move came after days of testimony from the singer and others and just before jurors were set to hear closing arguments.media_camera
The ex-girlfriend of the DJ who is accused of groping singer Swift told a court about the moment she heard security quiz him about touching her bum.
Shannon Melcher, who is in the picture at the centre of the court case, said she overheard someone ask David Mueller “are you happy with what you’ve done?”.
Music superstar Swift yesterday told a jury of her shock as she realised her “bare a** cheek” was being groped during a photo shoot ahead of a gig in the United States.
Swift, 27, said there was no doubt in her mind the “drunk” radio personality she was being photographed with ahead of a Denver concert in 2013 reached under her skirt and fondled her buttocks.
Today Melcher spoke of the moment Mueller was fired after an “interrogation” from the security team in a back room following the meet-and-greet.
She told the court Meuller said “I don’t know what you are talking about” as he was being questioned and said in the days that followed he maintained he never inappropriately touched Swift.
She said: “His story did not change.”media_camera
She added she and Mueller felt “odd” about the meet-and-greet situation as they had been in the public section and the fact they felt Meuller felt he had to “dive into the photo”.
Melcher told the court she didn’t notice any sudden movement from Swift away from Meuller while the picture was taken.
She also said she had been groped by twice by another KYGO employee — which she never reported — and said it bothered Meuller “very much” that someone had touched her inappropriately.
Swift’s former bodyguard, Greg Dent, said he saw the moment the DJ allegedly lifted the singer’s skirt.
Giving evidence today he said: “His hand went under her skirt, she jumped, moved her skirt down and moved closer to the girl and proceeded to have the pictured taken.media_camera
“I was standing off the side the girl, I could see their (Swift, Mueller, Melcher) backsides the entire time.
“I have no doubt that I saw Mueller place his hand under Taylor’s skirt, I couldn’t tell you how long it was up there.
“But Taylor jumped as soon as he put his hand under her skirt, moved her skirt down and she moved closer to the girl.”
In contrast Mueller’s former co-host at KYGO had earlier told jurors he first thought it was a joke when he heard about the claims against his friend.
He added that Mueller has maintained he never touched Swift and said his boss, Hershel Coiner — on-air name Eddie Haskell — thought she was wearing biker shorts during the meet-and-greet.media_camera
During an hour-long testimony yesterday Swift claimed “it was a definite grab, a very long grab” in her trial against the 51-year-old — who was pictured with his hand behind the star’s back.
“He stayed latched on to my bare a** cheek as I lurched away from him. (His hand) didn’t let go,” she told the jury.
Mueller, 55, testified on Tuesday that he may have made innocent contact with Swift but denied any inappropriate behaviour. Asked if he grabbed her backside, the former disc jockey for Denver radio station KYGO-FM replied, “No, I did not.”
Swift, who spent an hour on the witness stand on Thursday, said it appeared both Mueller and his girlfriend, who stood on the other side of her for the photo, had “had a few cocktails.”
Asked why her bodyguard did not step in when “this big drunk guy” groped her, Swift replied: “No one could have expected this to happen. … It had never happened before. It was horrifying and shocking.”media_camera
Questioned by the lawyer as to whether it might simply have been a case of mistaken identity on her part, she fired back: “He had a handful of my ass. I know it was him.”
Asked about her reaction when she learned that Mueller had been fired, Swift replied, “I just never wanted to see him again. And here we are years later and I’m being blamed for the unfortunate events in his life,” referring to the DJ losing his job.
Mueller sued Swift, claiming she cost him his job and is seeking over £2 million in damages resulting in the musician to file a counter suit, alleging sexual assault.
The Shake it Off hit maker, who is asking for a symbolic $1 judgment, says she wants to be an example to other assault victims.
The 27-year-old star, dressed in a floral print dress, testified that she tried to get as far away from Mueller as she could but didn’t want to stop the event and disappoint the few dozen people waiting in line.media_camera
She said she couldn’t have said anything about what happened without others already in the photo area overhearing — testifying that “this was something I did not want known.”
The star was questioned by David McFarland, representing Mueller, on why she didn’t stop the meet and greet and report Mueller’s actions to her security she replied that she didn’t want to ruin the experience of her fans who were in line to meet with her “and your client could have taken a normal photo with me.”
Taylor said that she doesn’t blame her former body guard Greg Dent who witnessed the assault for not stopping Mueller, telling jurors, “I’m not critical of my bodyguard for not doing anything, I’m critical of your client (Mueller) for sticking his hand under my skirt and grabbing my a**.”
Swift said she was absolutely stunned and told Mueller and his girlfriend, Shannon Melcher, “thank you for coming” in a monotone voice before they left.
Her lawyers have said she does not know Mueller and has no incentive to target him or to fabricate a story.media_camera
The case is being tried in federal court in Denver under a law allowing the proceeding when the parties live in separate states and the dispute involves a damages claim higher than £60,000.
Earlier this week, Swift’s lawyer Douglas Baldridge said the chart topper was “absolutely certain” that Mueller grabbed her “rear end”.
Baldridge asked what possible reason the 27-year-old, who is worth an estimated £216 million, would have to make up an allegations about the former DJ.
He said: “That’s the one and only story we have to tell you that Mr. Mueller grabbed her rear end.”media_camera
Previously, McFarland told jurors that inappropriate touching is wrong, but falsely accusing someone is equally unacceptable.
Baldridge then emphasised the age difference between Mueller, then 51, and Swift, then 23 — adding it was an assault, not inappropriate touching.
Among the evidence is a photo that shows Mueller with his hand behind Swift, just below her waist, at the event — which the singer’s lawyers have called “damning” proof that the radio host groped her.
Mueller says the photo only shows him trying to jump into the frame.
This story originally appeared in The Sun and has been republished with permission.
Originally published as Judge throws out DJ’s case against Swift