December 17, 2017
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Taylor Swift says DJ subjected her to long, ‘horrifying’ grope

By Keith Coffman and Jann Tracey, Reuters
JEFF KANDYBA | REUTERS | BDN
JEFF KANDYBA | REUTERS | BDN
A sketch of Taylor Swift and her attorneys in Denver Federal Court during the Swift groping trial in Denver U.S. Aug. 8, 2017.

DENVER — Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Taylor Swift testified on Thursday she was subjected to a “very long” and “intentional” grope by a Colorado disc jockey who appeared to be drunk during a photo session four years ago.

The 27-year-old pop star was testifying for the first time to a U.S. District Court jury weighing her accusation that David Mueller grabbed her bare bottom during a pre-concert fan reception in 2013 against Mueller’s assertion that she falsely accused him and then got him fired.

Swift — one of the United States’ most successful recording artists, whose hits include “Fearless” and “Fifteen” — spoke forcefully under questioning by Mueller’s attorney, Gabriel McFarland. She said several times, “Your client grabbed my ass,” at one point calling it a “devious and sneaky act.”

“It was a definite grab … a very long grab,” she said. “It was intentional. He stayed latched onto my bare ass cheek. I felt him grab onto my ass cheek under my skirt.”

Mueller, 55, testified on Tuesday that he may have made innocent contact with Swift but denied any inappropriate behavior. Asked if he grabbed her backside, the former disc jockey for Denver radio station KYGO-FM replied, “No, I did not.”

Swift spent an hour on the witness stand on Thursday and said it appeared both Mueller and his girlfriend, who stood on the other side of her for the photo, had “had a few cocktails.”

Asked by McFarland why her bodyguard did not step in when “this big drunk guy” groped her, Swift replied: “No one could have expected this to happen. … It had never happened before. It was horrifying and shocking.”

Questioned by the attorney as to whether it might simply have been a case of mistaken identity on her part, she fired back: “He had a handful of my ass. I know it was him.”

Asked about her reaction when she learned Mueller had been fired, Swift replied, “I just never wanted to see him again. And here we are years later and I’m being blamed for the unfortunate events in his life,” referring to the DJ losing his job.

Mueller initiated the litigation, arguing that Swift had fabricated the story and put pressure on KYGO to fire him from his $150,000-a-year job. Swift then countersued for assault and battery, asking for symbolic damages of $1. She says her representatives told KYGO management about the incident but that she never demanded Mueller be fired.

The former DJ is seeking lost earnings and to clear his name, telling the court this week that it was humiliating to be accused of “something so despicable.”

He originally sued in state court in Colorado, but Swift’s attorneys moved to have the matter transferred to federal court, which is allowed if a party lives out of state. According to court papers, the singer resides in New York.

Next up on the witness stand on Thursday was KYGO manager Robert Call, who fired Mueller two days after the alleged incident.

Call said Swift’s liaison to radio stations, Frank Bell, told him Swift’s team was “outraged … very upset” by what happened and was considering all options, including alerting the police. Call said he had known Bell for many years and that he had no reason to disbelieve what Bell was saying.

“My sense was that as time went by they were getting angrier,” Call testified.

He said Mueller at first denied to him that he had touched Swift at all. But when shown the photo in question, Call said, Mueller responded: “Well, if it did happen, it was accidental.”

Call said he fired the DJ because of his shifting accounts of the incident, and because the photo showed that Mueller’s hand was “not where it was supposed to be.”

Swift, who has 85 million followers on Twitter and 102 million followers on Instagram, earned $170 million in the year to June 2016 following a world tour and her best-selling “1989” album, according to Forbes Magazine.

 


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