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Saturday, August 12, 2017

The truth behind the Taylor Swift groping scandal

Some stars shine so brightly they get burned. Unfortunately for songstress Taylor Swift, that's just what happened to her. After getting hit with a major lawsuit, the country singer-turned-pop icon countersued—paving the way for what's become a lengthy legal battle. Here's everything you need to know about Swift's high-profile he-said-she-said trial.

She accused a DJ of groping her at an event

The "Shake It Off" singer is well-known for her approachable attitude toward her millions of fans. Before a Colorado concert at the Pepsi Center on June 2, 2013, Swift's usual, sugar-sweet persona was on display while she posed for photos with fans at a meet-and-greet before the big show. However, this pre-concert event apparently did not go as expected. As the Daily Mail reported, Swift accused DJ David "Jackson" Mueller, who attended the meet-and-greet as part of his job with radio country music station 98.5 KYGO, of reaching under her skirt and groping her while they took a photo together.

"He put his hand under my dress and grabbed my bare ass," Swift told the court on July 26, 2016 (via TMZ). "As soon as he grabbed my ass, I became shocked and withdrawn and was barely able to say 'Thanks for coming,' which is what I say to everybody. I was barely able to get the words out, and it was like somebody switched the lights off in my personality."

The DJ sued after losing his job

Mueller was reportedly fired from his gig at KYGO just two days after the alleged incident, according to Page Six. In response, Mueller filed a lawsuit against Swift in September 2015, accusing her of getting him fired after her security detail falsely claimed that he'd inappropriately touched her.

Swift's team released a statement, alleging that it brought KYGO evidence of the incident, and the radio station made the decision to terminate Mueller, not Swift and her team.

The Daily Mail reported that Mueller, who accused Swift of defamation, claimed he later heard one of his co-workers bragging about touching Swift's buttocks during a meet-and-greet photo.

Swift's legal team countersued for battery and assault

Of course, Swift and her team didn't just let Mueller's accusations go unnoticed. In addition to issuing a statement denying their involvement in Mueller's termination, the superstar countersued for battery and sexual assault and refuted Mueller's claim that another man had groped her.

"Resolution of this Counterclaim will demonstrate that Mueller alone was the perpetrator of the humiliating and wrongful conduct targeted against Ms. Swift," the lawsuit said (via People), "and will serve as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts."

According to the court papers, Swift felt "surprised, upset, offended, and alarmed," after the alleged assault and quickly informed her photographer, tour manager, and security guards. "Mueller did not merely brush his hand against Ms. Swift while posing for the photograph," the documents stated. "He lifted her skirt and groped her."

Both parties sought expert witnesses

When you want to win a legal battle, you need to enlist some help from professionals—and that's just what both Swift and Mueller did.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Swift recruited gender studies expert, Dr. Lorraine Bayard de Volo, who teaches at the University of Colorado Boulder. In a report assessing Mueller's alleged behavior, de Volo wrote that "motives for sexual harassment and sexual assault boil down to protection or assertion of status, including efforts to boost or repair an ego, get retribution, humiliate, intimidate, or (in cases of high-status women) invert a power imbalance between target and harasser." Essentially, de Volo argued that Mueller may have assaulted Swift in an attempt to reassert his "masculine status."

Mueller's attorney, Gabriel McFarland, refuted de Volo's assessment and utilized economist Jeffrey B. Opp to discuss the financial ramifications of Swift's alleged defamation (via The Denver Post).

Both Swift and Mueller later filed papers to have de Volo's and Opp's testimonies excluded from the case, according to The Wrap.

Mueller reportedly destroyed key evidence

In July 2017, The Denver Post reported that U.S. District Judge William Martinez had sanctioned Mueller for allegedly destroying or tossing out four electronic devices that may have contained key evidence pertaining to the case, including a two-hour audio recording taped during an interview Mueller had with his KYGO employer on the day he was fired.

Mueller's former boss, Robert Call, claimed the recording proved that the DJ had changed his story about the groping incident, thus casting doubt on Mueller's credibility.

So what's Mueller's excuse for getting rid of all that tech? The Denver Post noted that Mueller said he destroyed or lost his cell phone, laptop, iPad, and computer for several different reasons. For example, he said he spilled coffee on his laptop.

Martinez ultimately determined that Mueller didn't toss his electronics out of "bad faith."

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