Colorado DJ's suit against Taylor Swift
dismissed in groping trial
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[August 12, 2017]
By Keith Coffman and Jann Tracey
DENVER (Reuters) - Pop star Taylor Swift on
Friday won an important ruling in the trial stemming from her allegation
that she was groped by a Colorado disc jockey, with the judge dismissing
the DJ's rival claim accusing the singer of wrongfully getting him
The ruling by U.S. District Judge William Martinez left intact Swift's
assault and battery countersuit against David Mueller, who asserts he
was falsely accused by the recording star and ousted from his
$150,000-a-year job at radio station KYGO-FM under pressure from her.
The Grammy-winning artist known for such hits as "Fearless" and "I Knew
Your Were Trouble" reacted to the decision with tears of joy, embracing
members of her legal team and family members with bear hugs in the
Mueller sat alone at the plaintiff's table, appearing somber as he
sipped a glass of water.
Friday's decision capped the fifth day of a trial highlighted by vivid
testimony from Swift charging that Mueller clutched her bare buttocks
during a pre-concert fan reception in 2013 against Mueller's assertion
under oath that he did no such thing.
The judge had tossed out Mueller's defamation-of-character claim against
Swift before the trial, ruling that the former Denver DJ had waited too
long to file suit under the statute of limitations.
Earlier on Friday, Swift's former bodyguard corroborated her account of
being groped by Mueller, testifying that he saw the radio personality
slip his hand under the singer's skirt as they posed together for a
photo with Mueller's then-girlfriend.
Lawyers for both sides rested their respective cases after the
ex-girlfriend, Shannon Melcher, took the stand as the final witness to
deny seeing Mueller inappropriately touch Swift during the
picture-taking session. But she added, "I don't have eyes in the back of
After jurors were excused for the day, Swift's lawyer, J. Douglas
Baldridge, asked the judge to throw out Mueller's two remaining legal
claims in the trial - disruption of his $150,000-a-year employment
contract and interference with his future earnings.
Swift has said her representatives lodged a complaint with KYGO
management about the alleged groping but insisted she never demanded
Mueller be fired.
Although Martinez agreed to dismiss both claims as they related to
Swift, he kept the contract claim intact for Swift's two co-defendants -
her mother, Andrea, and her radio station liaison Frank Bell.
The eight-member jury also will be left to decide whether Mueller is
liable for assault and battery, for which Swift is seeking a symbolic $1
Swift, known for baring her soul and her grudges in her music, by all
accounts was the undisputed star witness of her own trial, giving an
unflinching account of the incident in question on Thursday.
[to top of second column]
Taylor Swift fans wait outside Denver Federal Court to be let into
the Swift groping trial in Denver U.S. August 9, 2017. REUTERS/Rick
In unvarnished language that occasionally drew titters in the
courtroom, even from some jurors, Swift testified that she was the
victim of a "devious and sneaky act."
"Your client grabbed my ass," she told Mueller's lawyer, Gabriel
McFarland. "He stayed latched onto my bare ass cheek. I felt him
grab onto my ass cheek under my skirt."
Greg Dent, Swift's bodyguard and a former police officer who said he
has provided security for many other celebrities, bolstered her
narrative when he took the stand on Friday.
"I saw his hand under her skirt. ... Her skirt went up. ... She
jumped," Dent testified, adding that Swift then moved closer to
Mueller's girlfriend, who was standing on Swift's other side.
"I was definitely sure that he had been drinking," Dent said of
Mueller. "I don't know what level. He wasn't staggering or falling
The photo, repeatedly displayed in court, shows Swift flanked by
Mueller and Melcher, all three smiling for the camera. Mueller has
his right hand concealed behind Swift's backside, and she appears to
have shifted her hip away from him.
Dent said he did not immediately intervene because he took his cues
from Swift, who continued with the meet-and-greet session. When she
finished meeting her fans, Dent said, Swift told her staff about the
Following Dent to the stand was Mueller's longtime friend and former
co-host at KYGO-FM, Ryan Kliesch. He repeatedly answered "no" when
asked by McFarland if he had ever seen Mueller disrespect, demean,
condescend or act inappropriately toward women.
The jury was due to return on Monday for closing arguments in the
(Reporting by Keith Coffman and Jann Tracey; Writing by Steve Gorman
and Daniel Wallis; Editing by Mary Milliken and Leslie Adler)
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