Taylor Swift groping trial hangs on a few voices and a photo
Posted August 8
DENVER — A civil trial over Taylor Swift's allegation that a former radio personality groped her will come down to whose story the eight jurors believe and what they think about a photograph that both sides say proves their case.
The jury will have to decide whether David Mueller grabbed the pop superstar's backside during a photo op at a 2013 concert in Denver or whether she and her team illegally got him fired.
The photo 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.
Based on court records, here's a look at the photo and other key elements in the he-said, she-said trial that began Tuesday in federal court in Denver.
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 says, "He took his hand and put it up my dress and grabbed onto my ass cheek."
Immediately after the meet-and-greet, Swift says she confirmed the assault with a photographer and security staffer, who then confronted Mueller.
Mueller says he told the security staff: "Please call the police. I didn't do anything."
Swift's security guard was about 3 feet (about 1 meter) away during the photo op, Mueller said. Swift was pleasant as she bid Mueller and his girlfriend goodbye, he says, and more than a dozen people met with the singer after Mueller left.
Swift said, "It was not an accident. It was completely intentional, and I have never been so sure of anything in my life."
A member of Swift's staff called Mueller's boss at a country music radio station and asked that the station "take appropriate action."
Swift did not call police. She says she was sexually assaulted but was trying to keep the matter discreet and quiet. She says she does not know Mueller and has no incentive to target him or to fabricate a story.
Mueller's boss said the DJ told him during an internal investigation that any contact during the photo op was incidental or accidental.
OTHER KEY WITNESSES
— Andrea Swift, the singer's mother, was involved in the decision to contact Mueller's boss and not call the police.
— Frank 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.
— Greg Dent, Swift's bodyguard, was standing a few feet away during the photo op.