Court throws out his claim that singer got him fired

New Straits Times - - World -

DEN­VER le­gal team and fam­ily mem­bers with bear hugs in the court­room.

Mueller sat alone at the plain­tiff’s ta­ble, ap­pear­ing som­bre as he sipped a glass of wa­ter.

Fri­day’s de­ci­sion capped the fifth day of a trial high­lighted by vivid tes­ti­mony from Swift charg­ing that Mueller clutched her bare but­tocks dur­ing a pre-con­cert fan re­cep­tion in 2013 against Mueller’s as­ser­tion un­der oath that he did no such thing.

The judge had tossed out Mueller’s defama­tion-of-char­ac­ter claim against Swift be­fore the trial, rul­ing that the former Den­ver deejay had waited too long to file suit un­der the statute of lim­i­ta­tions.

On Fri­day, Swift’s former body­guard cor­rob­o­rated her ac­count of be­ing groped by Mueller, tes­ti­fy­ing that he saw the ra­dio per­son­al­ity slip his hand un­der the singer’s skirt as they posed to­gether for a photo with Mueller’s then-girl­friend.

Lawyers for both sides rested their re­spec­tive cases af­ter the ex-girl­friend, Shan­non Melcher, took the stand as the fi­nal wit­ness to deny see­ing Mueller in­ap­pro­pri­ately touch Swift dur­ing the pic­ture-tak­ing ses­sion. But she added: “I don’t have eyes in the back of my head.”

Af­ter ju­rors were ex­cused for the day, Swift’s lawyer, J. Dou­glas Baldridge, asked the judge to throw out Mueller’s two re­main­ing le­gal claims — dis­rup­tion of his US$150,000-a-year em­ploy­ment con­tract and in­ter­fer­ence with his fu­ture earn­ings.

Swift has said her rep­re­sen­ta­tives lodged a com­plaint with KYGO man­age­ment about the al­leged grop­ing, but in­sisted she never de­manded Mueller be fired.

Al­though Martinez agreed to dis­miss both claims as they re­lated to Swift, he kept the con­tract claim in­tact for Swift’s two co-de­fen­dants — her mother, An­drea and her ra­dio sta­tion li­ai­son Frank Bell.

The eight-mem­ber jury also will be left to de­cide whether Mueller is li­able for as­sault and bat­tery, for which Swift is seek­ing a sym­bolic US$1 in dam­ages.

Swift, known for bar­ing her soul and her grudges in her mu­sic, by all ac­counts was the undis­puted star wit­ness of her own trial, giv­ing Performers pre­par­ing to ded­i­cate their dance to a tem­ple be­fore the Awa Odori fes­ti­val in Tokushima, Ja­pan, yes­ter­day. The four-day dance fes­ti­val at­tracts more than 1.2 mil­lion peo­ple an­nu­ally. an un­flinch­ing ac­count of the in­ci­dent in ques­tion on Thurs­day.

In un­var­nished lan­guage that oc­ca­sion­ally drew tit­ters in the court­room, even from some ju­rors, Swift tes­ti­fied that she was the vic­tim of a “de­vi­ous and sneaky act”.

Greg Dent, Swift’s body­guard and a former po­lice of­fi­cer bol­stered her nar­ra­tive when he took the stand on Fri­day.

“I was def­i­nitely sure that he had been drink­ing. I don’t know what level. He wasn’t stag­ger­ing or fall­ing down.”

The photo, re­peat­edly dis­played in court, shows Swift flanked by Mueller and Melcher, all three smil­ing for the cam­era. Mueller has his right hand con­cealed be­hind Swift’s back­side, and she ap­pears to have shifted her hip away from him.

Fol­low­ing Dent to the stand was Mueller’s long­time friend and former co-host at KYGO-FM, Ryan Kli­esch. He re­peat­edly an­swered “no” when asked by McFar­land if he had ever seen Mueller dis­re­spect, de­mean, con­de­scend or act in­ap­pro­pri­ately to­ward women.

The jury was due to re­turn to­mor­row for clos­ing ar­gu­ments in the case. Reuters


The photo, re­peat­edly dis­played in court, show­ing Tay­lor Swift flanked by David Mueller and Shan­non Melcher. Mueller has his right hand con­cealed be­hind Swift’s back, and she ap­pears to have shifted her hip away from him.

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