The Taylor Swift trial may come to a close Monday, when a jury of six women and two men will rule on the remaining claims in the case filed by former KYGO DJ David Mueller against Swift, her mother and her radio manager, charging the three with getting him fired by reporting that he’d reportedly groped the star during a 2013 photo o in Denver, and the countersuit filed by Swift herself. Here’s a quick summary of what’s happened and a guide to what to expect next.
August 7 was spent on jury selection. Sixty prospective jurors were excused after being asked 33 questions, including whether they smoked and were fans of Swift’s music.
After a mostly middle-aged jury of six women (one black, one Asian and four white) and two men (one white, one Hispanic) was selected, the trial began. In his opening statement, Swift’s lawyer, J. Douglas Baldridge, told the jury that Swift’s $1 countersuit for sexual assault was a symbolic action, “taking a stand for all women.” Then Mueller testified, firmly denying any inappropriate contact as his attorney, Gabriel McFarland, made a case that the allegations and influence of Swift and her co-defendants, mother Andrea Swift and radio manager Frank Bell, had ruined his career and caused him to incur $3 million in losses.
Andrea Swift and Bell took the stand. The pop star’s mother shed tears as she recounted her reaction to the alleged groping incident in 2013 and said she “absolutely” wanted Mueller to be fired. Bell told the jury about his conversation with KYGO General Manager Robert Call, in which he had asked the station to take “appropriate action” regarding Mueller (but did not explicitly demand termination).
Taylor Swift herself gave snarky, assured testimony, dropping the word “ass” repeatedly as she drove home her conviction that Mueller had intentionally groped her during a meet-and-greet photo-op. “I’m not going to allow your client to make me feel like [his current situation] was in any way my fault,” Swift said. Following the singer’s hour on the stand, the jury heard the testimony of Call; Swift’s personal assistant, Gabby Liddicoat; Mueller’s former boss, Hershel Coomer (aka Eddie Haskell, who vehemently denied Mueller’s suggestion that he had bragged about touching Swift’s butt); and Swift’s photo-booth operator, Stephanie Simbeck. All affirmed or said they saw no reason to doubt Swift’s allegations.
The evidentiary portion of the trial wrapped up as lawyers questioned Swift’s bodyguard, former police officer Greg Dent (“I don’t believe I saw it,” he said. “I know I saw it”); Mueller then-cohost Ryan “Ryno” Kliesch (who said he believed his friend was innocent); and Mueller’s ex-girlfriend, Shannon Melcher (who appears in the infamous groping photo, said that Mueller’s story has not changed, and spoke to her own experiences of workplace harassment). Swift’s team called no witnesses for either the defense or the counterclaim. At the end of the day, Martinez ruled on Baldridge’s argument that charges against his clients should be dropped due to lack of evidence upon which the jury could base a verdict.
Right before court ended at 6 p.m., Martinez, quickly listing off legal precedents, removed the claim of intentional interference with contractual obligations because Bell, who’d contacted KYGO to report the alleged groping, was not an employee of Swift directly but rather of Thirteen Management, LLC, which was not listed as a defendant in the case. The judge also limited Mueller’s pursuit of damages to only his two-year contract, as he deemed any calculation of future losses to be too speculative. Martinez also threw out the claims of slander and that Swift was responsible for the actions of Bell and company. “The court finds as a matter of law that Taylor Swift did not act improperly,” concluded Martinez, which means that the singer-songwriter is removed from legal liability. (Mueller’s claim against Swift’s mother and Bell, as well as the singer’s countersuit, are still in play). At the end of the day, Swift hugged her lawyer and family.
What does this mean for Monday?
Taylor Swift herself is off the legal hook. Her mother is still a defendant, and father Scott and actor-brother Austin, who have attended the trial in recent days, will likely be present. When the trial resumes, legal teams will have sixty minutes to make closing arguments, including rebuttal. After that, the jury will rule on Mueller’s remaining claim. The jury will also vote on the counterclaim that Mueller sexually harassed Swift. And with that, Denver’s biggest celebrity trial in over two decades will end.