Taylor Swift performs at the 2017 DIRECTV NOW Super Saturday Night Concert in Houston, Texas. (Associated Press photo)

Taylor Swift performs at the 2017 DIRECTV NOW Super Saturday Night Concert in Houston, Texas. (Associated Press photo)

Taylor Swift hopes verdict inspires assault victims

Judge award singer $1 in symbolic damages

Immediately after a jury determined that Taylor Swift had been groped by a radio station host before a concert in Denver, the singer-songwriter turned to one of her closest allies — her mother — and later said she hoped the verdict would inspire other victims of sexual assault.

Swift hugged her crying mother after the six-woman, two-man jury said in U.S. District Court on Monday that former Denver DJ David Mueller had groped the pop star during a photo op four years ago. Per Swift’s request, jurors awarded her $1 in damages — a sum her attorney, Douglas Baldridge, called “a single symbolic dollar, the value of which is immeasurable to all women in this situation.”

Swift released a statement thanking her attorneys “for fighting for me and anyone who feels silenced by a sexual assault.”

“My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard,” she said, promising to make unspecified donations to groups that help victims of sexual assault.

Nancy Leong, a law professor at the University of Denver, said the verdict is important because “we are getting to the point in society that women are believed in court. For many decades and centuries, that was not the case.”

RELATED: Taylor Swift’s pre-Super Bowl show might be her only in 2017

Leong, who also teaches in the university’s gender studies program, said the verdict will inspire more victims of sexual assault to come forward.

“The fact that she was believed will allow women to understand that they will not automatically be disbelieved, and I think that’s a good thing,” Leong said.

Swift and her mother initially tried to keep the accusation quiet by reporting the incident to Mueller’s bosses and not the police.

But it inevitably became public when Mueller sued Swift for up to $3 million, claiming the allegation cost him his $150,000-a-year job at country station KYGO-FM, where he was a morning host.

“I’ve been trying to clear my name for four years,” he said after the verdict in explaining why he took Swift to court. “Civil court is the only option I had. This is the only way that I could be heard.”

Swift countersued for assault and battery, and during an hour of testimony blasted a low-key characterization by Mueller’s attorney, Gabriel McFarland, of what happened. While Mueller testified he never grabbed Swift, she insisted she was groped.

“He stayed attached to my bare ass-cheek as I lurched away from him,” Swift testified.

“It was a definite grab. A very long grab,” she added.

Mueller emphatically denied reaching under the pop star’s skirt or otherwise touching her inappropriately, insisting he touched only her ribs and may have brushed the outside of her skirt as they awkwardly posed for the picture.

That photo was virtually the only evidence besides the testimony.

In the image shown to jurors during opening statements but not publicly released, Mueller’s hand is behind Swift, just below her waist. Both are smiling. Mueller’s then-girlfriend is standing on the other side of Swift.

Swift testified that after she was groped, she numbly told Mueller and his girlfriend, “Thank you for coming,” and moved on to photos with others waiting in line because she did not want to disappoint them.

But she said she immediately went to her photographer after the meet-and-greet ended and found the photo of her with Mueller, telling the photographer what happened.

Swift’s mother, Andrea Swift, testified that she asked radio liaison Frank Bell to call Mueller’s employers. They did not call the police to avoid further traumatizing her daughter, she said.

“We absolutely wanted to keep it private. But we didn’t want him to get away with it,” Andrea Swift testified.

Bell said he emailed the photo to Robert Call, KYGO’s general manager, for use in Call’s investigation of Mueller. He said he didn’t ask that Mueller be fired but that “appropriate action be taken.”

Jurors rejected Mueller’s claims that Andrea Swift and Bell cost him his job.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge William Martinez dismissed similar claims against Taylor Swift, ruling Mueller’s team failed to offer evidence that the then-23-year-old superstar did anything more than report the incident to her team, including her mother.

___

Associated Press writer Thomas Peipert contributed to this report.

James Anderson And Tatiana Flowers, The Associated Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

News Bulletin file photo
Wrong set of golf clubs given away outside Nanaimo thrift store

Family spreading word about mistake in hopes clubs might be returned to them

The Regional District of Nanaimo faces challenges with garbage bin replacement requests. (Michael Briones photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo faces challenges to meet requests for garbage bin replacements

Waste manager says RDN will have a surplus of 100-litre carts

Nanaimo RCMP are investigating after a hit-and-run incident outside the 7-Eleven store at University Village Mall Feb. 3. (Photo submitted)
UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP speak to people of interest in hit-and-run investigation

Police continuing to investigate Feb. 3 incident in Harewood

(News Bulletin file)
Wellington, Ladysmith secondary schools latest with COVID-19 cases

NDSS and Bayview Elementary also experienced exposures, says SD68

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s board is forwarding a motion on illegal dumping to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities’ upcoming annual general meeting. (Kane Blake photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo motion seeks to ask province for help to combat illegal dumping

RDN resolution to be forwarded to Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities

FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2014, file photo, endangered orcas from the J pod swim in Puget Sound west of Seattle, as seen from a federal research vessel that has been tracking the whales. A new study from federal researchers provides the most detailed look yet at what the Pacific Northwest's endangered orcas eat. Scientists with the NOAA Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center spent years collecting fecal samples from the whales as well as scales from the fish they devoured. They say their data reaffirm the central importance of Chinook salmon to the whales. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Study reinforces importance of Chinook to Pacific Northwest orcas

Data confirms how central the big salmon are to the orca’s diet year-round

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

Most Read