By JAMES ANDERSON and TATIANA FLOWERS, Associated Press
DENVER (AP) — Taylor Swift testified Thursday that a former radio DJ reached under her skirt and intentionally grabbed her backside during a meet-and-a-greet photo session before a 2013 concert in Denver.
“He stayed attached to my bare ass-cheek as I lurched away from him,” the pop star testified during about an hour on the stand in federal court during a trial over the claim.
Swift said she tried to get as far away from David Mueller as she could. She said she told Mueller and his girlfriend, Shannon Melcher, who was also in the photo, “thank you for coming” in a monotone voice before they left.
Swift said she was stunned and did not say anything to Mueller or halt the meet-and-greets after he left because she did not want to disappoint a few dozen people waiting in line to appear in photos with her.
She testified she first mentioned the incident about 15 minutes later to her photographer, Stephanie Simbeck.
Mueller has sued Swift and others on her team, denying he groped Swift and claiming the allegation cost him his job. He is seeking up to $3 million in damages. Swift countersued, alleging sexual assault, and is asking for a symbolic $1 judgment that holds Mueller responsible.
The pop star was cordial in her testimony but direct and sometimes testy while being questioned by a lawyer representing Mueller.
Asked about her reaction when she learned that Mueller had been fired, Swift replied that she was not going to allow the lawyer or Mueller make her feel like it was her fault.
Questioned repeatedly about how she was groped, Swift testified that “it was a definite grab. A very long grab.” She also said that no one else could have groped her.
“It happened to me. I have a 3-D re-creation of what happened in my brain,” she said.
Swift said a photo sent by her liaison to Robert Call, general manager of the radio station where Mueller worked, showed the exact moment that Mueller groped her.
In the image, shown to jurors during opening statements but not publicly released, Mueller’s hand is behind Swift, just below her waist. Both are smiling.
She said she would not have needed the photo to remember Mueller.
“I could have picked him out of a line of a thousand,” she testified.
Swift also testified that her security guard, Greg Dent, saw David Mueller “lift my skirt” and grab her, but it was impossible for anyone to see Mueller’s hand beneath her skirt and on her buttock because they were posing for the photo with their backs to a wall.
Swift said someone would have had to been underneath her to see the actual groping during the photo shoot “and we didn’t have anyone positioned there.” The line drew laughs from the audience in the courtroom.
Mueller testified Wednesday that the photo taken before the concert was “weird and awkward,” but he insisted that he touched Swift in the ribs, not in the rear.
Mueller testified his hand was touching Swift’s skirt after he put his arm around her and their arms got crossed: “My hand was at rib-cage level and apparently it went down.”
The case is being tried in federal court under a law allowing the proceeding when the parties live in separate states and the dispute involves a damages claim higher than $75,000.
Associated Press writer P. Solomon Banda contributed to this report.