Closing arguments began Monday in the Taylor Swift groping trial in Denver so the eight-member jury could decide soon whether they believe an ex-radio DJ grabbed Swift’srear end in 2013, and whether her mother and a manager got him fired for doing it.
David Mueller’s attorney went first in addressing the jury, telling them his client, 53 at the time of the encounter in question, did not grope Swift, then 23.
“I don’t know what kind of man grabs or gropes a music superstar … But it’s not that guy,” Gabriel McFarland said. He said the witnesses who testified they saw the groping, including Swift, were either lying or inconsistent in their stories.
“Nobody saw what Ms. Swift said happened … because it didn’t happen,” he said. Mueller’s story has never changed, he said, in that he has always claimed he was falsely accused.
Once again, Swift was unseen in public as everyone else in her case, including her younger brother, Austin Swift, entered the courthouse in downtown Denver. Swift has been in the courtroom every day but has been escorted in via an entrance protected from the media; she has been seen only in courtroom sketches.
But Swift is already a winner in the federal case of dueling lawsuits: On Friday she was dropped as a defendant in Mueller’s 2015 lawsuit charging her with pressuring his Denver radio station KYOG to fire him for allegedly touching her inappropriately during a photo op at a pre-concert meet-and-greet.
U.S. District Judge William Martinez ruled in favor of Swift’s motion to drop her from the lawsuit on grounds Mueller and his lawyer failed to prove in four days of witness testimony that she personally intervened in any way with his bosses to get Mueller fired.
Her countersuit against Mueller, in which she charges him with assault and battery in connection with the alleged groping, remains in play.
And Swift’s mother, Andrea Swift, and the radio liaison on her management team, Frank Bell, remain as defendants in Mueller’s lawsuit so the jury will have those two questions to decide when closing arguments and jury instructions are completed.
After huddling Monday morning, the judge ruled that each side will get 50 minutes to sum up their case and 10 minutes of rebuttal. A verdict must be unanimous.
Mueller is seeking compensation for loss of wages under his job contract with the radio station. Swift is seeking a symbolic $1 and the chance to demonstrate that women can fight back against sexual assault, even if it’s belated and even if it’s not in criminal court.
The trial began a week ago and was expected to last nine days, but testimony proceeded quickly. Plus, after Mueller rested his case on Friday, Swift’s attorney, Douglas Baldridge, declined to call any witnesses to testify in her lawsuit, suggesting her legal team did not believe she needed to tell the jury anything further.
Swift, her mother, her security guard, her photographer and other witnesses took the stand during Mueller’s case and backed her version of their encounter.
Contributing: Allison Sylte, KUSA Denver
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