A former security guard for Taylor Swift took the stand Friday in a Denver federal court.
Greg Dent told jurors that he saw David Mueller, a former radio DJ, grope the pop star in 2013 during a pre-concert meet-and-greet photo session.
Dent said he was several steps away from Swift, and positioned where he could see Mueller reach under her skirt.
“I saw his hand under her skirt … her skirt went up … she jumped,” Dent testified, adding that Swift then moved closer to Mueller’s girlfriend, who was standing on the other side of the singer for the photograph.
Swift testified for about an hour on Thursday, and used the word “ass” dozens of times on the witness stand as she told jurors that David Mueller allegedly reached under her skirt during the meet-and-greet.
Mueller sued Swift after her team reported the alleged assault to his bosses at a country music station. He’s seeking up to US$3 million, saying the allegation cost him his job and reputation.
Swift countersued, claiming sexual assault. Mueller testified he did not grope Swift.
“I was definitely sure that he had been drinking,” Dent said of Mueller. “I don’t know what level. He wasn’t staggering or falling down.”
But Dent testified Friday he did not take any immediate action because he generally took his cues from Swift, and she gave him none.
Mueller’s attorney, Gabriel McFarland, tried to get Dent to explain why he did not react immediately.
“I didn’t sense danger after he touched her,” he said.
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Dent said he was a few steps away from Swift at the photo-op and watched everyone who came in and left.
He said Mueller groped Swift under her skirt a moment before a staff photographer took a photo of Swift, Mueller and Mueller’s then-girlfriend.
He says the photo shows Swift trying to move away from Mueller. Swift testified the photo captured the exact moment she was groped.
Dent testified he only looked for Mueller after the pre-concert photo session was over, and Swift complained she had been groped.
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 Dent saw Mueller “lift my skirt,” and grab her but that 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.
“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 ribcage level and apparently, it went down.”
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