Taylor Swift testifies in 'groping' case

Publish Date
Friday, 11 August 2017, 6:45AM

By Alan Butterfield, Ruth Styles

In day four of her federal trial the 27-year old Shake It Off singer told jurors from the stand over and over again how former KYGO radio DJ, David Mueller, intentionally grabbed her bottom at a meet-and-greet in Denver.

"He lifted my skirt and grabbed my bare ass cheek," Taylor Swift told the jury in her civil trial.

"It was a definite grab, not jostling."

In this courtroom sketch, pop singer Taylor Swift speaks from the witness stand during a trial. Photo / AP

Dressed in a V-neck floral top, a simple necklace and wearing her hair back, Swift repeatedly reminded jurors how the ex DJ put his hand up her skirt and groped her during the 2013 event, according to the Daily Mail.

In the sometimes-contentious testimony she at one point told jurors: "He lifted my skirt and latched onto my bare ass. It was grab; a very long grab."

Taylor couldn't remember how long Mueller stayed latched onto her behind, but "it was a definite grab, long enough to be completely sure that it was intentional".

When Mueller's attorney, Gabriel McFarland, asked if he had touched her at any other point, Swift replied: "He was too busy grabbing my ass under my skirt."

Upon further grilling by Mueller's attorney, Taylor told jurors that Mueller and his then girlfriend appeared to be intoxicated at the meet-and-greet.

Taylor was questioned on why she didn't stop the event and report Mueller to her security. She replied that she didn't want to ruin the experience for her fans who were in line to meet her "and your client could have taken a normal photo with me".

Taylor said that she doesn't blame her former bodyguard 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 ass."

Taylor also said that Mueller "did not touch my rib, he did not touch my hand, he grabbed my bare ass".

When grilled about how she felt about Mueller losing his job because of the allegations, Taylor countered by saying, "I am not going to allow your client make me feel like in any way it's my fault because it isn't."

She said she doesn't have any feelings on Mueller as a person, "I don't know him, but what he did was despicable."

Mueller's attorney further grilled Taylor on whether or not she was sure Mueller was the one who grabbed her butt, to which she replied: "He had a handful of my ass. I know it was him. I didn't need a photograph. I could have picked him out of a line of a thousand people. I know exactly who did this, what happened. It happened to me. I know it was him."

Douglas Baldridge, attorney for pop singer Taylor Swift, leads his team into the morning session of the the fourth day of a civil trial. Photo / AP

Taylor's tour photographer at the time also testified for about 10 minutes, but Judge William Martinez announced that Taylor's mother, Andrea was not feeling well and was excused from testifying.

On Wednesday, Andrea sobbed on the stand as she spoke about the moment she was informed her daughter had been groped, telling court that she knew something was "horribly wrong" the moment she walked into Swift's dressing room.

Andrea, 59, said: "I saw her face. I could see that there was something horribly wrong. She [Swift] said, 'Mom, a guy just grabbed my ass'."

The mother-of-two broke down as she told the jury how Swift felt "destroyed" in the aftermath of the groping.

She said: "One of the things I think that stuck with me [about that night] was that [Taylor] couldn't believe that after the incident, after he grabbed her, that she thanked him for being there.

"She said thank you. It was destroying her that she said that after someone did that to her. It made me question why I taught her to be so polite in that moment."

Andrea explained that she and other members of Swift's management team chose not to call police because they wanted to keep it private and did not want her to have to "endlessly relive" the moment.

The 59-year-old added: "I did not want her to have to live through endless memes and gifs and anything else tabloid media or internet trolls would be able to come up with; making her relive this awful moment over and over again.

"We wanted to keep this private but we did not want to let him get away with it."

Asked whether she had questioned Swift's bodyguard about the alleged sexual assault after hearing about it from the singer, Andrea replied:

"I wasn't going around checking things out. I knew what happened. I had heard it from her. I heard it from my daughter's mouth.

In this courtroom sketch, defendant David Mueller, a former radio DJ, left, sits with his attorney during a trial. Photo / AP

"He sexually assaulted her, right there, that guy [Mueller]."

She smiled as she talked about Swift's "sweet" upbringing on a farm in Reading, Pennsylvania, but became visibly angry when Mueller's lawyer asked her if her son Austin had ever been accused of sexual assault.

The line of questioning was disallowed by Judge Martinez.

Andrea said she was so upset she wanted to "vomit and cry at the same time" after being told her daughter had allegedly been groped at a concert.

Wearing a black and white patterned jacket and her blond hair worn loose, the 59-year-old appeared composed as she began her testimony - confirming her relationship with Swift and her employment at 13 Management.

But when she was asked about the moment she heard of the incident, Andrea grew vehement, telling the court: "I was upset to the point where I felt like I wanted to vomit and cry at the same time. Emotions evolve but I was far more upset and trying to be attentive to my daughter than I was consumed with anger."

She also described the evening of the alleged assault in June 2013 as "very complicated".

Andrea also said she had not been in the "photo booth" at the time of the alleged grope and was told about it afterwards.

She was also asked about the photograph of Swift with the DJ taken on the night and told court that it "sickened" her.

She told the jury: "The reason I saw it was because they were using this to find him and the second I saw it, I knew there was something horribly wrong, horribly wrong going on in that picture."

She knew something was wrong because of the look in her daughter's eyes and the "frozen smile" on her face.

Singer Taylor Swift. Photo / AP

She added: "I looked at it and I was sickened."

Concluding the cross-examination, Swift's attorney asked if she had heard any facts that had convinced her Swift had not been sexually assaulted.

Watched by her daughter and her husband Scott, Andrea turned towards Mueller and said: "Absolutely not."

Asked who had assaulted Swift, Andrea replied: "David Mueller did."

Her first appearance on the witness stand came shortly after Mueller completed his testimony with a plea to restore his "good reputation".

In closing remarks, he said: "I'm here to prove that I'm innocent. I had a good reputation in radio and I would like to get it back."

Under questioning from Swift's lawyer Douglas Baldridge, he said he was no longer looking for a $3 million award but instead wanted to restore his name and resume his career in radio.

He acknowledged that a photo of him with his hand behind the singer is "weird and awkward" in court Wednesday.

Her lawyer also claimed several people noticed Swift was upset after Mueller allegedly grabbed her.

He also reminded the court that Swift's bodyguard Greg Dent previously testified in a deposition that he had seen Mueller lift Swift's skirt.

The trial was delayed for nearly two hours while the two sides held private talks over evidence.

Jurors, spectators and members of the media were ordered out of the courtroom while discussions took place - holding up proceedings, which had been due to start at 8.45am.

The hiatus followed a day of dramatic developments in court. Mueller was accused of changing his story seven times by Swift's attorney Douglas Baldridge during his opening statement.

Baldridge also charged Mueller with destroying evidence and pursuing the case for money, fame and revenge against his former bosses at KYGO.

In this courtroom sketch, pop singer Taylor Swift, front left, confers with her attorney as David Mueller, back left, and the judge look on during a civil trial in federal court. Photo / AP

He painted a picture of a man with a large ego who felt slighted by Swift's focus on his girlfriend and who already had problems with management at work.

But the DJ told the court that he had not groped the singer and instead touched her "rib or ribcage" accidentally as he leaned in for a photograph.

He also told the court that the aftermath had been "hard on my family and it has been hard on my friends".

Mueller claims the episode cost him his career and relationship with girlfriend Shannon Melcher, who was present during the alleged grope and is expected to testify this week.

The former radio host added: "It's a humiliating experience to be accused of something that despicable."

A number of fans are expected to attend the trial, as 32 seats in the public gallery are made available each day.