DENVER — Taylor Swift‘s mother, Andrea, testified Wednesday that a KYGO morning-show host “absolutely shattered our trust” after he grabbed the superstar singer’s rear end during a meet-and-greet before a June 2, 2013, Pepsi Center concert. Swift performed her typical two-hour show that night, occasionally walking into the audience, but “we don’t do that anymore,” Andrea Swift, a member of her daughter’s management team, said in U.S. District Court.
“It made us do a bunch of things differently. Our meet-and-greets are much smaller,” said in sworn testimony. “We now have metal detectors. We wand people. We now do background checks. It scared us really badly.”
After David Mueller, then 51, allegedly groped Swift in a brief photo shoot, Andrea recalled, “I was upset to the extent that I was feeling like I wanted to vomit and cry at the same time.” Both Swifts blew their noses with tissues during portions of Andrea Swift’s testimony. “He sexually assaulted her,” she said, pointing to Mueller in the courtroom. “Right there. That guy.”
Two days after Taylor Swift’s accusation, KYGO, a top Denver country-music station, canceled Mueller’s $150,000-per-year contract; in 2015, Mueller sued Swift for defamation, claiming he was having trouble getting a job in the radio business; Swift counter-sued for assault. The civil trial opened Monday, with Mueller as the first witness, and is expected to last nine days.
One of the key pieces of evidence is a photo, taken during the shoot, showing Swift in a black dress between Mueller and his then-girlfriend, KYGO employee Shannon Melcher. Mueller’s arm appears behind Swift, but it’s unclear where his hand is. In morning testimony Wednesday, Mueller and Swift’s attorney, David Baldridge, grappled over body parts and the distinction between “jostling” and “sliding.” Mueller recalled the brief encounter with Swift as “awkward,” saying he didn’t know where to put his hands and accidentally brushed her body.
“I know I touched her rib cage, or rib — I know my hand was touching her rib or her skirt,” Mueller testified. “And it went behind her, and her hand, or arm, went behind my arm.”
Baldridge’s blunt, rapid-fire style seemed to shake Mueller several times over two days, and the former morning-show host sighed frequently and stumbled over his explanations. He struggled to explain why his attorney had hired an expert on damages, who recommended $3 million, while he is asking the jury to pick a figure. “I’m sorry, I’m a little bit confused,” he told Baldridge, who quickly snapped back, “We’ll move on, sir, I think the point’s been made.”
Andrea Swift was comparatively unequivocal. Asked by the sympathetic Baldridge to “tell this jury a bit about your family,” she rambled about Taylor’s history in the music business, beginning with her writing her first songs. She recalled a trip to Nashville in which 11-year-old Taylor walked into Music Row record labels and declared to receptionists: “Hi, I’m Taylor, I’m 11, here’s a record, call me.” Mueller’s attorney, Gabriel McFarland, finally cut off the lengthy biography with an objection: “It’s an interesting story, I’m not sure that it’s relevant.”
PHOTO: Jeff Kandyba via AP