Backside backfire: Lawsuit against Taylor Swift going as well as you'd expect

Sue in haste, repent at leisure. After a Denver DJ got fired from his radio gig following accusations from Taylor Swift that he’d groped her during a photo shoot, David Mueller sued the pop star for slander, seeking millions of dollars in damages. Rather than settle, Swift countersued for a dollar, insisting that Mueller had assaulted her and claiming that she wanted to make an example out of it after his lawsuit.


So far, things don’t appear to be going well for Mueller. Swift testified this morning that Mueller did in fact “grab on to her ass cheek” during the 2013 event:

“It was a definite grab. A very long grab,” Swift told the court of the alleged groping.

Swift was adamant that the contact was beneath her skirt, and not over it.

“He grabbed my a– underneath my skirt,” she said, saying she was “completely sure” it was intentional. Swift added that right after the alleged groping, she became monotone, according to an NBC News affiliate 9News reporter.

Swift’s cross-examination has now begun, and she can expect to get tough treatment. Mueller’s entire case rests on undermining her credibility on this point. One question will be why Taylor didn’t press criminal charges against Mueller at the time of the grab. However, Swift’s team has already presented testimony and evidence that Swift immediately took offense to Mueller, including having him ejected from the event. Swift’s mother corroborated the singer’s contemporaneous reaction to the alleged grab, and offered an answer as to why no charges were filed too:

On Wednesday, Swift’s mother Andrea told a jury that her daughter was visibly upset after the alleged incident.

“I knew what happened, I heard it from her. I heard it from my daughter’s mouth. He sexually assaulted her, right there, that guy,” Andrea Swift said in court, pointing at Mueller. Andrea Swift was not present when the photo was taken, but spoke to her daughter afterwards.

Andrea Swift testified that her daughter’s team did not call police because she did not want her daughter to have to relive the experience. No criminal charges were ever filed in the case.


Mueller didn’t necessarily do himself much good either. Under cross-examination, Mueller acknowledged that he was already on thin ice with KYGO before the alleged incident occurred. And he didn’t have a very good explanation for a picture taken at that moment, admitting that the photo that appeared to show his hand around the cheek region was, um … awkward:

Under cross examination on Tuesday, Mueller conceded that various supervisors with KYGO and its parent firm had discussed the possibility of letting him go even before the encounter with Swift.

Earlier in the day, Mueller acknowledged that a photo of him with his hand behind Swift is “weird and awkward.”

Because this is a civil case and not a criminal prosecution, the determination of which side is correct will be made on the preponderance of evidence rather than beyond a reasonable doubt. That could go either way at this point, but it seems that Mueller is presenting his own word as his entire case, while Swift is providing more substantiation for her defense and counterclaim. Thanks to his own admission about his employment status at KYGO, a claim of damages will be tough to make as well.

The bigger question is this: what lawyer would have taken Mueller’s case into court at all? This looks like a bad bluff, which should have folded the moment Swift called it. Presumably Mueller wanted to get Swift to settle the case so he could argue that it was an admission that she lied about the incident. Instead, he just gave Swift an even bigger platform from which to accuse him of sexual assault. Shouldn’t his attorneys have figured this out in the discovery phase?


Even if the court fails to determine an outcome, relegating it to he-said-she-said status, Mueller did more damage to himself than Swift could have done. Maybe he should consider suing his lawyer after this ends.

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