Tuesday, August 8, 2017

GropeGate Trial: No Jury Yet

(Reuters photos)
Lawyers for Taylor Swift and former radio host David Mueller began the slow process of selecting a jury and they have a question to ask: Is anyone in your immediate family a fan of Taylor Swift?

The civil trial that has been years in the making got started Monday in U.S. District Court in Denver. Mueller, who went by the name “Jackson” on the country station KYGO, sued Swift in 2015, claiming he was wrongly fired after she claimed he groped her during a meet-and-greet before her 2013 concert at the Pepsi Center. He disputes her allegations. The singer filed a counterclaim, alleging abuse and battery.

After an afternoon of questioning jurors and their potential biases, jury selection will overflow into Tuesday morning, according to The Denver Post.

Swift, her mother, Andrea Swift, and her radio promotions manager, Frank Bell, were in the courtroom Monday, as was Mueller, as lawyers began slimming the jury pool to eight. There will be no alternates.

Bell and Andrea Swift also are named in Mueller’s complaint.

Many of the 60 potential jurors who were being considered for the eight-member panel said they had read or heard about the case, according to The NYTimes.  All were asked to fill out a 15-page questionnaire that asked, among other things, whether they had ever been inappropriately touched, falsely accused or considered themselves fans of the entertainer.
Questionaire for potential jurors
The questions also drilled down to specifics. Had jurors heard of the lawsuit? Had they attended the concert on June 2, 2013, where Swift claims she was groped? Had they seen any pictures related to the lawsuit, alluding to the leaked photo that was taken when Swift alleges the assault occurred? Had they already formed an opinion on the case, about Swift or about Mueller?

Reuters reports Swift sat quietly in the Denver courtroom dressed in a business-like black jacket and white top, Swift, 27, one of the top-selling U.S. singers, watched the proceedings in a federal courthouse, jotting notes on a pad of paper. When the judge introduced Swift, she turned and faced the prospective jurors.

Taylor Swift and a former radio host aren't looking at each other in court as jury selection proceeds in their lawsuits involving a groping claim.

David Mueller, wearing a dark suit, sat Monday at the plaintiff's table with his back turned to Swift, who sat at a nearby table with her mother, Andrea Swift, and their attorneys.

Taylor is expected to take the stand during the trial in U.S. District court to testify about the incident, which resulted in broadcaster David Mueller's firing from Colorado music station KYGO-FM. Officials expect the jury to be seated and opening statements to begin on Tuesday.

The judge has placed a gag order on all parties, and attorneys for both sides did not respond to messages seeking comment.

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, according to Forbes Magazine.

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