Pop superstar Taylor Swift has won an assault lawsuit against former Denver DJ David Mueller. A Colorado court found that Mueller had assaulted Swift by reaching under her skirt as they posed for a photo.
Pop star Taylor Swift broke out into tears and embraced her mother as a court in Denver, Colorado, handed her a very public victory in an assault and battery case that has spanned over four years.
After less than four hours of deliberation, jurors in the US District Court of Denver found that former Denver radio personality David Mueller had assaulted Swift during a pre-concert meet-and-greet in 2013 by reaching underneath her skirt and grabbing her bear rear as they posed for a photograph.
Swift was awarded the $1 (0.85 euros) she had sought in damages – a sum her attorney, Douglas Baldridge, described as "a single symbolic dollar, the value of which is immeasurable to all women in this situation."
In a statement, Swift thanked the judge and jury for their consideration and her attorneys "for fighting for me and anyone who feels silenced by a sexual assault, and especially anyone who offered their support throughout this four-year ordeal and two-year long trial process."
"I acknowledge the privilege that I benefit from in life, in society and in my ability to shoulder the enormous cost of defending myself in a trial like this," the 27-year-old singer added.
Taylor Swift's attorney Douglas Baldridge said the verdict sent a clear message: "It means 'no means no' and it tells every woman they will decide what will be tolerated with their body"
Mueller claim thrown out
The jury also dismissed Mueller's claim that Swift's assault allegations, which he denied, had cost him his $150,000-a-year job at country radio station KYGO-FM.
Mueller launched the litigation case against Swift, her mother, Andrea, and the radio station's liaison, Frank Bell, after he was fired. He had sought up to $3 million in damages, prompting Swift's team to counter-sue for assault.
"I've been trying to clear my name for four years," he told the jury, explaining why he had taken the case to court. "Civil court is the only option I had. This is the only way that I could be heard." Mueller insisted that he had only touched Swift's rib as they posed for the picture, and may have awkwardly brushed the outside of her skirt.
In a furious testimony, singer Taylor Swift refused to sugarcoat the groping and decried Mueller and his legal team's attempt to down play the incident.
However, when Swift took the stand last week, she furiously blasted the claimant's low-key characterization of the incident. "He stayed attached to my bare ass-cheek as I lurched away from him," the singer testified. "It was a definite grab. A very long grab."
District Judge William Martinez ruled that Mueller's team had failed to offer sufficient evidence that Swift had done anything other than report the incident to her team, including her mother, while the jury found that the photograph in question, which has not been released publically, presented sufficient evidence to backup Swift's claims. The photo reportedly shows Mueller and his then-girlfriend posing either side of Swift, with the DJ's hand just below the singer's waist.
Andrea Swift had testified earlier in the trial that she had asked Bell to raise the incident with Mueller's employers. She said she did not to take the case to the police to avoid traumatizing her daughter. "We absolutely wanted to keep it private," Andrea Swift testified. "But we didn't want him to get away with it."
dm/kms (AP, Reuters)