Taylor Swift has taken to the stand in her sexual assault case, in which she is seeking symbolic damages of a single dollar in order to highlight that “grabbing a woman’s rear end is an assault, and it's always wrong”.
Swift appeared in a Denver court on Thursday (10 August) to face questioning over an alleged assault that took place at a tour meet-and-greet event in 2013.
The singer is countersuing David Mueller, a former radio host, for assault and battery after claiming he put his hand up her dress and groped her as their picture was being taken, in what she called in court a “despicable and horrifying and shocking” incident.
Speaking on Thursday, she said she was “completely sure” that the touching had been “intentional”, describing it as a “definite […] very long” grab: “He stayed on my bare ass cheek as I lurched away from him. [His hand] didn’t let go.
“It was a very shocking thing. I had never dealt with something like this before.”
She also said that Mueller and his girlfriend, who was present, appeared to have “had a few cocktails” and at one stage called the alleged assault a “devious and sneaky act”.
Mueller, who was fired from KYGO Radio shortly after the incident, denies her account and two years after the meet-and-greet launched a legal case against Swift, asking for $3 million (£2.3 million) for damage to his career and reputation.
KYGO manager Robert Call, who fired Mueller following a call from one of Swift’s team about the incident, testified that he had acted because Mueller’s account of the contact had changed and because the photo showed that Mueller’s hand was “not where it was supposed to be.”
According to several reports, Mueller’s lawyer attempted to use Swift’s reaction to the alleged groping against her, asking why she didn’t take a break if she was so affected, and she responded that other fans were already in the room and she didn’t want to “ruin” their experience.
She has previously described herself as “being frantic, distressed, feeling violated in a way I had never experienced before” and on Thursday, said she’d essentially gone on autopilot: “A light switched off in my personality. I just said in a monotone voice, ‘Thank you for coming.’”
She was also asked how she felt about the fact Mueller had lost his job over it and whether she was critical of her bodyguard, Greg Dent, for not stepping in, to which she replied: “No, I’m critical of your client sticking his hand under my skirt and grabbing my bare ass.”
Responding to the fact he’d lost his job, she replied forcefully: “I’m not going to let you or your client make me feel in any way that this is my fault. Here we are years later, and I’m being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are the product of his decisions – not mine.”
Swift’s attorney J. Douglas Baldrige said in his opening statement that the $1 she is seeking is symbolic, as she wants the case to serve as an example.
“She’s just trying to tell people out there that you can say no when someone puts their hand on you,” Baldridge said. “Grabbing a woman’s rear end is an assault, and it’s always wrong. Any woman – rich, poor, famous, or not – is entitled to have that not happen.”
If Swift is awarded additional damages, she plans to donate the money to relevant charitable causes.
The case is expected to conclude later this month.
Image: Rex Features