Taylor Swift took the witness stand Thursday to share details of how she was allegedly groped by former radio DJ David Mueller four years ago before a concert.
Swift testified at the trial, accusing Mueller, a former 98.5 KYGO-FM DJ, of groping her and said: “he grabbed my ass underneath my skirt” when the two posed for a photo together during a meet-and-greet photo session before her 2013 concert in Denver.
The photo shows Mueller with his hand behind Swift, just below her waist. Both are smiling.
“He stayed attached to my bare ass-cheek as I lurched away from him,” the pop star testified in federal court during a trial over the claim.
Mueller sued Swift and others on her team, claiming they cost him his job and is seeking up to US$3 million in damages. Swift counter sued, alleging sexual assault, and is asking for a symbolic US$1 judgment.
The 27-year-old singer has testified that “it was a definite grab. A very long grab. It was long enough for me to be completely sure it was intentional.”
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She testified that after she was grabbed she “got as far away from him as I possibly could.”
Swift said she didn’t stop the meet-and-greets after Mueller left because she didn’t want to disappoint a few dozen people who’d been waiting in line. She testified she first mentioned the incident about 15 minutes later to her photographer Stephanie Simbeck.
Swift repeatedly gave the account of the incident on the witness stand Thursday in federal court while being questioned in a civil trial over the allegations.
She said she couldn’t have said anything about what happened without others already in the photo area overhearing. She testified that “this was something I did not want known.”
The Shake It Off singer said she was absolutely stunned and told Mueller and his girlfriend, Shannon Melcher, “thank you for coming” in a monotone voice before they left.
Swift also said that a security guard working for her witnessed the groping.
She testified guard Greg Dent saw Mueller “lift my skirt” and grab her but that it was it was impossible for anyone to see Mueller’s hand beneath her skirt and on her buttock, because they were posing for the photo with their backs to a wall.
Swift said that someone would have had to have been underneath her to see the actual groping “and we didn’t have anyone positioned there.”
Swift’s lawyers have said she does not know Mueller and has no incentive to target him or to fabricate a story.
Mueller’s lawyer, Gabriel McFarland, asked Swift how, if she doesn’t know Mueller, could she 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,” she said. “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.”
Mueller’s lawyer also asked why the front of her skirt didn’t appear to be ruffled in the photo.
Swift answered: “Because my ass is located on the back of my body.”
Mueller testified Wednesday that the photo taken before the concert was “weird and awkward,” but he insisted that he touched Swift in the ribs, not in the rear.
Mueller testified his hand was touching Swift’s skirt after he put his arm around her and their arms got crossed: “My hand was at rib-cage level and apparently it went down.”
Mueller’s lawyer showed jurors the photograph during his opening remarks. Two jurors stared at the photo on their computer monitors while a few others kept glancing at it as McFarland spoke.
“If you look at that photograph, his hand is not underneath Miss Swift’s skirt, and her skirt is not rumpled in any fashion,” McFarland said, noting that no one on Swift’s concert team saw anything amiss.”
Mueller also testified that one of his station bosses, Hershel Coomer, told him that he had met Swift earlier before the show and that “he told me that he had his hands on her butt.”
Mueller said, “I thought he was just telling me one of his stories.”
Coomer is expected to testify at the civil trial.
Swift has said she is positive it was Mueller who groped her.
The case is being heard by a jury of six women and two men, most appearing to be over 30.
The case is being tried in federal court under a law allowing the proceeding when the parties live in separate states and the dispute involves a damages claim higher than US$75,000.
—With files from The Associated Press