Former host sanctioned
“Jackson” sued Taylor Swift after 2013 groping accusations
A federal judge has sanctioned a former Denver radio host, who sued Taylor Swift after she accused him of groping her at concert.
U.S. District Judge William Martinez ruled Wednesday that Swift’s attorneys will be allowed to question David “Jackson” Mueller about a two-hour audio recording he surreptitiously taped during an interview with his boss the day before he was fired. The recording was lost when Mueller later destroyed or threw away four electronic devices.
Mueller sued Swift in September 2015 claiming the music superstar “falsely” accused him of lifting her skirt and groping her before a June 2013 Denver concert. Swift countersued in October 2015 saying Mueller waited “unreasonably” long to file his suit and said “Mueller did not merely brush his hand against Ms. Swift while posing for the photograph: he lifted her skirt and groped her.”
Martinez said he could have leveled harsher sanctions against Mueller including striking part of the evidence, if the judge concluded that Mueller intentionally destroyed the devices or couldn’t locate them.
Martinez said the recording is critical evidence because Mueller’s KYGO boss, Robert Call, claims Mueller changed his story when he confronted him about Swift’s claim that he assaulted her. That was one of the deciding factors that Call relied on in his decision to fire Mueller on June 4, 2013.
“Call explained that one reason for Plaintiff’s termination was because Call perceived Plaintiff had ‘changed his story that it couldn’t have occurred, then that it was incidental,’ ” Martinez wrote.
Mueller recorded the conversation on his cell phone and transferred it to his laptop and office computer, according to Martinez’s 16page ruling. Mueller later gave snippets of the twohour conversation that bolstered his claims to his attorney.
Mueller admits destroying or losing the cell phone, laptop, iPad and computer for a variety of reasons including that he spilled coffee on his laptop’s keyboard. “It was fried,” Mueller said. But he also acknowledged the recording would have been important evidence in the case.
Although Martinez referred to Mueller’s “serial nature of (his) loss of electronic devices,” he determined the radio host didn’t do so in “bad faith.”
Mueller’s lawsuit claims he was fired from his job and banned from Swift concerts for life based on false allegations about the Pepsi Center encounter on June 2, 2013. Mueller had been invited, as part of his then-job at 98.5 KYGO on the “Ryno and Jackson” morning show, to meet Swift backstage.
Martinez wrote that the recording was relevant to numerous disputed facts and issues in the case and would have been “invaluable to a jury.”
He wrote that Mueller was the only person with the complete audio recording and knew full well that litigation was imminent “since he was pursuing it.”
“He made the decision — inexplicably, in the court’s view — to alter the original evidence and to present his lawyer with only ‘clips’ hand-picked from the underlying evidence,” Martinez wrote.
Because Mueller may seek nearly $3 million in damages, the judge wrote, “it is very hard to understand how he spent so little time and effort to preserve the very evidence which — one might think — could have helped him to prove his claims, and why he evidently responded with nonchalance when that evidence was lost.”