Wednesday, August 9, 2017

GropeGate: DJ Mueller "I Want To Clear My Name"

Reuters graphic
  • Taylor Swift showed up on Tuesday for the second day of her groping trial wearing a high-necked black dress as dozens of fans waited outside 
  • Jury selection for the trial of former Denver DJ David Mueller versus Taylor Swift at the Alfred A. Arraj Courthouse in Denver was completed at 9.29am
  • Her lawyer accused Mueller of changing his account of what happened and said he destroyed five electronic devices containing evidence
  • Mueller accused Swift of fabricating an incident where he allegedly groped her in 2013 which caused him to be fired
  • He testified saying he may have touched her 'rib cage, or rib, or ribs' with a closed hand 
  • He is seeking $3million in damages and Swift is expected to take the stand during the trial
  • Swift counter-sued the DJ for assault and battery in response, saying he put his hand up her dress  
A Colorado DJ accused of groping recording star Taylor Swift during a photo shoot four years ago testified on Tuesday that he innocently made physical contact with the singer as they posed together but denied any inappropriate behavior, reports Reuters.

Taking the witness stand on the first day of testimony at the federal court trial of their dueling lawsuits, Denver radio personality David Mueller said Swift's allegations, which he emphatically denied, "cost me my career, my passion, my income."

Mueller, 55, who was fired from his $150,000-a-year job at radio station KYGO 98.5 FM over Swift's accusations, insisted that the case he brought against Swift was about more than just the loss of his livelihood and money.

"I want to clear my name," he said. "It's a humiliating experience to be accused of something so despicable."

The U.S. District Court jury is weighing Mueller's false-accusation claim against Swift's cross complaint alleging assault and battery. The two cases were merged for trial.

According to Swift, Mueller slipped his hand under her dress and grabbed her bare buttocks as the two posed, along with Mueller's girlfriend, during a meet-and-greet session before a June 2013 concert in Denver.

Expected to take the witness stand herself later in the trial, Swift listened intently to Mueller's testimony, resting her chin in her hand. Her mother, Andrea, seated beside her, teared up at an early mention of the alleged groping incident.

Under questioning from his lawyer, Mueller recounted he may have made contact with the side of Swift's body or brushed her arm and hand while they posed for pictures, but when asked if he had grabbed her backside, Mueller said flatly, "No, I did not."

Mueller testified he had no inkling anything was amiss until approached that evening by a member of Swift's security team who related her allegation to him, threatened to call the police and then told Mueller he was banned from all future Swift concerts.

The litigation was initiated by Mueller, who claims Swift fabricated the groping story and pressured station management to oust him from his job. His lawsuit seeks lost earnings.

In his opening statement on Tuesday, Swift's lawyer, J. Douglas Baldridge, said Mueller committed an assault on his client and was now targeting her for money and fame, telling the jury, "He wants to make the victim pay the price."

Mueller's attorney, Gabriel McFarland, opened his case by showing the eight-member jury a picture from the photo shoot in question and said his client'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.

The civil trial involves dueling lawsuits filed by Mueller and Swift. Mueller, who wants at least $3 million in damages, claims Swift had falsely accused him of fondling her during the June 2 meet-up at Denver’s Pepsi Center and got him fired from his $150,000-a-year job with KYGO.

Swift, who’s only asking for $1, countersued for assault and battery, saying she wants to hold him accountable for his actions.

The 10-time Grammy Award winner sat with her mom, Andrea, as the trial got under way Tuesday, her hair pulled back in a bun.

Swift remained stoic throughout Mueller’s testimony and smiled during a break in the proceedings. She also gave a wave to the more than two dozen fans who showed up at court to support her.

Meanwhile, The Denver Post is reporting Mueller testified Tuesday that he didn’t send all of the audio recordings of his meeting with bosses after he was accused of groping pop star Taylor Swift because he spilled coffee on the keyboard of his computer as they were being transmitted to Swift’s legal team.

In U.S. District Court on Tuesday, Swift’s lawyer portrayed the DJ as an angry man who felt ignored by the singer as he cross-examined Mueller about the destruction of five different electronic devices.

Mueller said used his phone to record a meeting with bosses Hershel Coomer and Bob Call when they interviewed him about the meet and greet with Swift before her 2013 concert at the Pepsi Center.

But the recordings consumed so much memory on his phone that the device began to malfunction, so he transferred the files to a MacBook.

He later spilled coffee on the keyboard. Before that happened, Mueller said he sent 19 audio clips from the almost two-hour meeting that led to his firing.

Swift’s team only received 11 of those clips, her lawyer Douglas Baldridge said.

Mueller also said spilled water on a second computer, and accidentally smashed a iPad.

Baldridge asked him if he had sent messages from any of the electronic devices to friends describing what happened on June 2, 2013, when he met Swift.

There is no way for Baldridge’s clients, or Swift’s experts to confirm what happened to the recordings, he said. “My clients and my experts cannot confirm that coffee was spilled, can they?”

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