Case dismissed! Taylor Swift has been cleared of all charges against her in her civil trial against David Mueller, with a judge throwing out the Denver DJ’s case. After five days of testimony, the judge in the case determined there was insufficient evidence to support Mueller’s claims that the “Shake It Off” singer had him fired from his radio job due to her allegations that he groped her butt during a meet-and-greet before a 2013 Denver concert.
Mueller claims he was fired after a member of Swift’s team called his boss to complain about the alleged groping, and responded by filing a $3-million wrongful dismissal lawsuit against the singer — who then counter-sued, claiming he sexually assaulted her.
In his decision, the judge cited insufficient evidence to prove that Swift had anything to do with the loss of Mueller’s job, and threw out four of his five charges. Just one of Mueller’s claims will proceed — tortious interference with prospective business relations, which he filed against Swift’s mother, Andrea, and Frank Bell, Swift’s liaison with radio stations.
While Mueller’s charges against Swift have been thrown out of court, her counter-claim against Mueller has not, and her charges of assault and battery against Mueller will go to jury. Closing statements will be made on Monday.
Although the trial isn’t officially over, news that Mueller’s charges against Swift had been thrown out was greeted with applause from her fans, who took to social media to congratulate the star on her court victory.
The judge’s decision follows testimony on Friday from Swift’s former bodyguard, Greg Dent, who took the stand to testify against Mueller. In his testimony, Dent claimed that Mueller appeared to have been drinking and that he witnessed the DJ’s hand slip beneath Swift’s skirt while they posed for a photo.
“I was definitely sure that he had been drinking. I don’t know what level. He wasn’t staggering or falling down,” said Dent of Mueller.
Yet when it came to whether he witnessed Mueller grope Swift, Dent offered testimony that was definitive and damning, reports Reuters.
“I saw his hand under her skirt. … Her skirt went up. … She jumped,” Dent testified, adding that he noticed Swift immediately move away from Mueller toward his girlfriend, who was standing on the other side of the singer during the photo op. “In my opinion, I knew he touched her.”
Under cross-examination by Mueller’s lawyer, Dent was asked why he didn’t intervene after seeing what he did.
As Dent explained, a meet-and-greet is a more controlled environment than Swift’s interactions with fans when she’s out in public, so he took his cues from her.
“I only sense, the biggest sense of danger I have is when she deals with the general public. And that [meet-and-greet] environment it seems to be a little bit safer,” said Dent, adding that he “didn’t sense danger,” adding that after witnessing Mueller grope Swift he “thought that was inappropriate.”
Swift’s mother, Andrea, reappeared in court Friday, but was still feeling under the weather; following a request from Swift’s attorneys, the judge released her for the remainder of the day.
On Friday afternoon, Swift’s lawyers told the court that no further witnesses would be called, which led the judge to inform the jury that the evidentiary portion of the trial had concluded.
Closing arguments are scheduled to take place on Monday morning, at which time the jury will deliberate until reaching a verdict.
On Thursday, Swift herself took the stand to testify about being allegedly groped by Mueller, describing the experience as “horrifying” and “shocking,” reports Denver’s ABC afiiliate.
Wearing a floral-print dress with her hair pulled back, Swift testified for about an hour. Her mother, Andrea Swift, was not in court on Thursday, with the judge excusing her after being told she was not feeling well.
During her testimony Swift answered questions politely, appearing confident and, at times, almost patronizing, with some of her sassier answers resulting in laughter in the courtroom.
“It was a definite grab, [a] very long grab,” Swift said in describing what took place. “It was long enough for me to be completely sure it was intentional.”
Added Swift: “He stayed on my bare ass cheek as I lurched away from him uncomfortably. The first couple of milliseconds, I thought it must be a mistake. I moved to the side very quickly.”
Swift then explained how the alleged groping caused a shift in her demeanour. “After this happened, a light switched off in my personality,” she said. “I just said in a monotone voice, ‘Thank you for coming.’”
Questioned by Mueller’s attorney on her reaction to Mueller losing his job, Swift replied: “I didn’t have a reaction to a strange person I didn’t know losing his job… that was a product of his decisions, not mine. I’m not going to let you or your client make me feel like this is my fault… I think what he did was despicable, horrifying, shocking, but I don’t know him at all.”
The attorney then asked Swift how, if she doesn’t know Mueller, she could be so certain he was the one who allegedly groped her.
“It happened to me. He had a handful of my ass. It happened to me. I know it was him,” Swift declared. “I didn’t need a picture. I could have picked him out of a line of a thousand…this is not alleged. I don’t need you to grill me about the tiny details of this photograph.”
In response to the lawyer’s question about why the front of her skirt didn’t appear to be ruffled in the photo, Swift said: “Because my ass is located on the back of my body.”
Previously, Swift’s mom, Andrea, took to the stand on Wednesday. “One of the things I think that stuck with me was that she [Taylor] couldn’t believe that, she after the incident, after he grabbed her that she thanked them for being there,” Andrea Swift recalled during a cross-examination from Swift’s lawyer. “She said thank you. It was just destroying her after she said that to someone that did that to her. ”
Andrea blamed herself for her daughter’s passive reaction to the alleged assault. She broke down in tears as she told the court: “It made me as a parent, made me think, ‘Why did I tell her to be so polite in that moment?'”
When asked if there was any doubt her daughter could be lying, Andrea replied, “None, never!”
Before the cross-examination, Andrea was called to the stand by Mueller’s lawyer. The lawyer asked Andrea how she reacted when her superstar daughter told her of the allegations. “I was upset to the extent that I felt like I wanted to vomit and cry at the same time,” the mom explained.
Andrea insisted she wasn’t angry with Mueller, but more concerned for her daughter’s well-being. “Emotions move on over time, however,” she explained. “I was far far more upset and trying to be attentive to my daughter that I was consumed with anger.”
“He sexually assaulted her,” Andrea exclaimed. “Right there, that guy,” she said, pointing to Mueller.
On Monday, Swift reportedly attended the jury selection for the case in a courtroom in Denver, Colorado. According to People, Swift and Mueller were both in attendance but did not acknowledge one another. Out of a group of 60, eight jurors are to be selected for the trial. During the selection process, the potential jurors were asked how well they knew Swift from the last two years, if they listen to her music and have been to a concert.
According to Associated Press, Swift is attempting to keep her legal battle “discreet and quiet and confidential,” with Swift’s attorney, Douglas Baldridge, arguing in court that she was particularly upset by Mueller’s claim that “for some reason she might have some incentive to actually fabricate this story.”
In his opening statement, Baldridge declared that his client is “absolutely certain” that she was sexually assaulted by Mueller during the photo op, reports Associated Press. “That’s the one and only story we have to tell you — that Mr. Mueller grabbed her rear end,” Baldridge said.
Mueller’s attorney, Gabriel McFarland, disputed Swift’s allegations. “Let’s also be clear that falsely accusing someone of inappropriate touching is equally offensive, it’s wrong and should not be tolerated,” he said, insisting Mueller did not grab the singer’s behind as she’s claiming.
One of the key pieces of evidence is a photo obtained by TMZ (which is sealed by the court) in which Mueller is posing with Swift, his hand behind her back at the level of her derriere. Swift’s lawyers, reports AP, have described the photo as “damning” evidence proving that Mueller groped the singer.
Swift appeared in court Tuesday, reports People, who watched as her attorney told the jury that she is “taking a stand for all women,” and that “this is a case of sexual assault in the workplace.”
According to People, Swift’s mother, Andrea, was also in attendance, and “became slightly emotional and dabbed at her cheeks during the opening statements.” Andrea Swift is a co-defendant in the case, and was present at the meet-and-greet when the alleged butt-grab occurred.
“A woman is assaulted. She reports it and she gets sued… it doesn’t make sense,” added Swift’s lawyer. “She’s trying to tell people out there that you can say no when someone grabs you no matter who they are.”
In a videotaped deposition she gave last year, Swift claims she felt “distressed” and “violated” after the alleged incident.
“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,” she said, adding: “It was completely intentional, I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life.”
“I remember being frantic, distressed, feeling violated in a way I had never experienced before,” Swift said. “A meet-and-greet is supposed to be a situation where you’re thanking people for coming, you’re supposed to be welcoming people into your home, which is the arena for that day, and for someone to violate that hospitality in that way, I was completely stunned.”
No settlement is expected in the competing lawsuits, with Swift seeking a verdict that will award her $1 — but, as her lawsuit states, would hold Mueller responsible and serve “as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts.”
Any money Swift is awarded as a result of the case, states her lawsuit, will be donated to “charitable organizations dedicated to protecting women from similar acts of sexual assault and personal disregard.”
With reports from Entertainment Tonight