DENVER (AP) — A jury on Monday started considering Taylor Swift’s allegation that a former radio host groped her during a meet-and-greet before a concert and whether the singer’s mother and her radio liaison later set out to destroy his career.
In the dueling lawsuits from Swift and former disc jockey David Mueller, a federal judge ruled Friday that Mueller failed to prove that the pop star personally set out to have him fired after the 2013 photo op.
But jurors will weigh his identical allegations against Andrea Swift and Frank Bell as well as Swift’s countersuit seeking a symbolic $1. She says Mueller grabbed her backside and she wants to serve as an example to other women who have been assaulted.
Mueller had sued Swift after her team reported the accusations to his bosses at a country music station.
Here’s a look at the key elements in the he-said, she-said trial that began Tuesday in U.S. court in Denver.
A photo taken at the meet-and-greet shows David Mueller with his right hand behind the singer, just below her waist. It’s not clear whether he’s touching her. Both are smiling.
Swift’s lawyers called the image “damning” proof that Mueller inappropriately touched her. Mueller argues it shows him trying to jump into the frame.
Entertainment news outlet TMZ obtained and published the photo, which has been sealed by the court.
Swift’s business manager, Jesse Schaudies Jr., said her side did not want the picture in the news.
“We did not want copycats and one-uppers abounding. And that happens in our world,” he testified last year. “These people all tend to escalate. I’ve watched what happens with these files and individuals.”
Swift took the stand for about an hour last week, testifying that Mueller grabbed her bare backside and held on for a long time during the meet-and-greet. She used explicit language that seemed designed to avoid sugar-coating what she described as a sexual assault when she posed for the photo.
“He stayed attached to my bare ass-cheek as I lurched away from him,” she said, later adding: “It was a definite grab. A very long grab.”
OTHER KEY WITNESSES
— Andrea Swift, the singer’s mother, was involved in the decision to contact Mueller’s boss and not call the police.
—Bell, a member of the singer’s team, contacted Mueller’s bosses at the station KYGO. Bell and Andrea Swift are also defendants in Mueller’s lawsuit.
— Shannon Melcher, Mueller’s girlfriend at the time, was standing on the other side of Swift when the photo was taken. She testified that she saw nothing happen during the brief encounter and that she and Mueller were rudely confronted and escorted out of the arena that evening. Melcher said Mueller was devastated by the accusation.
— Greg Dent, Swift’s bodyguard, was standing a few feet away during the photo op. He testified Friday that Mueller groped Swift under her skirt a moment before a staff photographer took a photo of the singer. But he did not take any immediate action because he generally took his cues from Swift and she gave him none.
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