Taylor Swift's trial lawyer accuses Denver DJ of seeking money, fame

By Reuters/Keith Coffman, Jann Tracey   August 9, 2017 | 08:13 am GMT+7
Taylor Swift's trial lawyer accuses Denver DJ of seeking money, fame
A sketch of Taylor Swift (L) and her attorneys in Denver Federal Court with plaintiff David Mueller (2nd R) during the Swift groping trial in Denver U.S. August 8, 2017. Illustrated by Reuters/Jeff Kandyba

Swift, 27, has said that David Mueller, 55, fondled her four years ago during a photo shoot before a concert in Denver.

Taylor Swift's attorney accused a Colorado DJ of seeking money and fame by targeting his client with a lawsuit, as the pop star sat in the Denver courtroom watching the proceedings.

Mueller sued Swift, claiming she had falsely accused him and cost him his job at Denver radio station KYGO-FM. Swift countersued for assault and battery.

The litigation centers on her allegations that Mueller slipped his hand under her dress and grabbed her bare buttocks as the two posed during a meet-and-greet session before a June 2013 concert in Denver.

"It was not an accident, it was completely intentional, and I have never been so sure of anything in my life," Swift said in a deposition.

Swift's attorney, J. Douglas Baldridge, said in U.S. District Court on Tuesday that Mueller committed an assault and that he had told at least six versions of what happened.

"He wants to make the victim pay the price," Baldridge said of Mueller.

While Baldridge described to the jury of six women and two men how Swift told her mother that day about the photo shoot, Andrea Swift got teary eyed in the chair next to her daughter.

Baldridge said Mueller, who often looked pensive and clasped his hands, was seeking 15 times what his contract was worth in damages, while the singer was seeking $1 on her counterclaim to show women "you can say no."

Following the opening statements, Mueller, who made $150,000 a year at the radio station, denied in his testimony that he was seeking that much money. He said he only sued "to clear his name and for lost earnings."

During Mueller's testimony, Swift listened with her chin resting in her hand.

Mueller's attorney, Gabriel McFarland, showed the eight-member jury a picture from the photo shoot and said Mueller's hand was not under Swift's skirt.

"Let's be clear, inappropriate touching is offensive. It's wrong and it should not be tolerated .... Falsely accusing is equally offensive and it's equally wrong," he said.

About two dozen fans were in the courtroom, where Swift occasionally whispered to her mother and jotted down notes to her lawyers.

Three teenaged girls from Denver were first in line to get seats in the courtroom, arriving at 4:15 am local time. "It's better than a concert," said Dani Kuta, 17, who attended.

Swift, one of America's top-selling recording stars, is expected to take the witness stand during the trial.

Mueller sued first, saying Swift fabricated the story and pressured station management to oust him from his job. His case cites tort claims of interference with contractual obligations and prospective business relations.

His lawsuit denies anything inappropriate occurred during the brief backstage encounter in which he and his girlfriend stood on either side of the pop star.

Swift countersued and the two civil complaints were merged for trial. In court filings, Swift said her representatives informed KYGO management about the incident, but she did not demand Mueller be fired.

Swift, one of the most successful contemporary music artists, earned $170 million between June 2015 and June 2016, following a world tour and her best-selling "1989" album, Forbes Magazine said.