The INSIDER Summary:
- Taylor Swift is in court, because of a pair of lawsuits stemming from an alleged assault incident.
- Denver-based DJ David Mueller was fired after allegedly grabbing her butt before a concert.
- Mueller sued Swift, accusing Swift of slander and for interfering with his employment.
- Swift sued back, accusing Mueller of assault.
- The two are in federal court right now, in a trial scheduled to end on August 17.
- Swift is expected to testify.
Taylor Swift has been in court this week. She’s accompanied by her mother, Andrea Swift, who testified in front of a group of jurors about an alleged sexual assault on her daughter.
How did Swift and her mother end up in a courtroom in Denver? It’s all part of a tangle of lawsuits the celebrity is involved in, stretching back to an alleged incident in 2013 with a former radio host named David Mueller.
Swift accused Mueller of grabbing her butt while they were taking a photo.
On June 2, 2013, Swift performed a concert at Denver’s Pepsi Center. Before the show, she held a meet-and-greet where David Mueller, a host for the city’s country music radio station KYGO, was present. Mueller — whose known as “Jackson” on the radio — and his then-girlfriend Shannon Melcher posed for a photo with Swift.
Later that night, according to The Hollywood Reporter, a member of Swift’s security team “approached Mueller and accused him of touching her inappropriately.”
“Right as the moment came for us to pose for the photo, he took his hand and put it up my dress and grabbed onto my ass cheek and no matter how much I scooted over it was still there,” Swift said in a 2016 deposition, a transcript of which was obtained by Billboard. “It was completely intentional, I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life.”
Later that night, Swift’s radio promotion director, Frank Bell, told KYGO about the incident.
Two days later, KYGO fired Mueller.
According to court documents cited by the Associated Press, KYGO cited a morality clause in Mueller’s contract that “allows his employer to fire him for conduct that could reflect unfavorably on the station or its sponsors.” Mueller’s base salary was $150,000 per year, and he’s been working in radio for around 20 years.
Mueller sued Swift for slander and for interfering with his employment.
It took two years for Mueller to take legal action. In September 2015, he sued Swift for slander and for interfering with his employment contract, saying he didn’t do anything wrong, and alleged that his radio boss was the real person who groped Swift. He’s seeking $3 million in damages.
Mueller has not filed a lawsuit against KYGO.
In part of his lawsuit, Mueller cites the photograph taken with Swift — obtained by TMZ — as evidence of his innocence.
“The contention that Mr. Mueller lifted up Ms. Swift’s skirt and grabbed her bottom, while standing with his girlfriend, in front of Ms. Swift’s photographer and Ms. Swift’s highly trained personal security personnel, during a company sponsored [event] is nonsense,” reads a copy of Mueller’s lawsuit. “Particularly given that Ms. Swift’s skirt is in place and is not being lifted by Mr. Mueller’s hand in the photograph.”
A judge tossed out the slander allegation in May of this year, but allowed the case to move forward on the charges of Swift interfering with Mueller’s contract (the legal principle is called “tortious interference.”)
Swift countersued, accusing Mueller of assault.
In October 2015, Swift sued Mueller on charges of assault.
“Ms. Swift knows exactly who committed the assault – it was Mueller,” the countersuit says. “Mueller alone was the perpetrator of the humiliating and wrongful conduct targeted against Ms. Swift, and will serve as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts … He lifted her skirt and groped her.”
Swift originally said she would donate court winnings to “charitable organizations dedicated to protecting women from similar acts of sexual assault and personal disregard” and then later revised her request to a symbolic $1.
People connected to the case have been in court all week.
A Denver court is now in trial for Mueller’s lawsuit against Swift. Swift herself is scheduled to testify. Swift’s mother, Andrea Swift, Mueller himself, Frank Bell, Shannon Melcher, and Swift’s bodyguard Greg Dent are all witnesses in the case.
On the stand on Tuesday, Mueller said he made physical contact with Swift, but denied it was inappropriate. He said he didn’t know anything was amiss until his conversation with Swift’s security.
“I want to clear my name,” Mueller said. “It’s a humiliating experience to be accused of something so despicable.”
Andrea Swift testified on Wednesday. She said her daughter was shaken that night, and that the alleged groping shattered her trust in who could meet with Swift at the meet-and-greets hosted before concerts.
“I went into the dressing room and I saw her face,” Andrea Swift told jurors. “I could see that there was something horribly wrong.”
She said that the entire experience has been painful for them.
“I was upset to the extent that I wanted to vomit and cry at the same time,” Andrea Swift said. “It was inconceivable to us that this could take place, how it took place, and where it took place.”
The trial is scheduled to end on August 17. It’s not clear when a decision will be rendered.
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