After nearly four hours of deliberation, a jury, comprised of six women and two men, ruled in favor of the Taylor Swift and her mother on Monday, rejecting radio DJ David “Jackson” Mueller’s claim and awarded the singer the symbolic $1 that she requested.
Thank you, @taylorswift13, who only took $1 in damages. Her mission was to prove women should not fear the men who sexually assault them. https://t.co/TTASWlOo8l
— Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) August 15, 2017
The federal court jury also found the singer’s mother, Andrea Swift, “not liable for tortious interference,” reports CNN.
Taylor Swift — The 'Sexual Assault' Photo I Wanted to Keep Secret (PHOTO) https://t.co/qT5FRZLo4T
— TMZ (@TMZ) November 12, 2016
In a three-million-dollar lawsuit filed in 2015, Mueller, who claimed that he was unjustly fired from his job after Swift complained that he had allegedly groped her during a backstage meet-and-greet in 2013, said his career in radio had been ruined by what he said was Swift’s false accusation. After Mueller sued, Swift countersued for assault and battery.
Both Swift’s bodyguard and the photographer who took the photo claimed they had witnessed the groping.
During the trial, Mueller testified that he had not inappropriately grabbed Swift’s ass during the shoot but had, instead, simply touched her arm or ribs while getting in place for the picture.
On Thursday, Swift confidently contradicted his characterization, clearly stating that it was, in fact, “a definite grab. A very long grab,” and that “He stayed latched onto my bare ass cheek as I lurched away from him visible uncomfortably.” She later added, “I felt him grab onto my ass cheek underneath my skirt.”
“Because I was a larger person, I thought it would be a good idea if I closed my hand so I didn’t poke Taylor with my fingers,” Mueller said in his own defense.
Swift’s mother also testified that her daughter told her about the groping immediately afterward: “She couldn’t believe that after he grabbed her, that she thanked them for being there,” Andrea Swift said. “It was just destroying her that she said that… as a parent it made me question why I taught her to be so polite in that moment.
Talor Swift was removed from any liability in the case on Friday. The jury later decided in favor of Swift’s mother, and her radio promotions manager, Frank Bell, who allegedly pressured KYGO into firing the radio DJ, refusing Mueller’s request for $250,000 in damages.
“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,” Swift said, according to CNN. “My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard.”
After the verdict, Swift thanked the judge and the jury for their consideration, her attorneys and all those who felt silenced by a sexual assault, especially those who “offered their support throughout this four-year ordeal and two-year long trial process.” Swift also pledged to make significant “donations in the near future to multiple organizations that help sexual assault victims defend themselves.”
#taylorswifttrial is a victory for all survivors. @taylorswift13 is letting sexual assault survivors know they aren't alone &can get justice
— Ann McLane Kuster (@RepAnnieKuster) August 15, 2017
Swift’s lead attorney, Doug Baldridge, hailed his client’s victory in court as “something that can make a difference,” telling the press gathered there that, “It takes people like Taylor, wonderful people like Taylor, who we all know, to stand up and draw these lines.”
Can I take back everything less than nice I ever said about #TaylorSwift? Girl is FIERCE. Love her. #taylorswifttrial
— Sasha Brown-Worsham (@sashabrownworsh) August 11, 2017
In his closing argument on Monday, Baldridge argued that, “That single dollar is of immeasurable value in the scheme of things” because “It says no means no for all women.”
Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse on Friday, Baldridge described the verdict as “a new day” because Taylor has made it clear to everyone that “this is it, the line is drawn.”
- Danielle Bizzarro