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

(Photo: MOSAIC/Facebook)
Organization receives $10K from B.C. government to tackle racism in Surrey, White Rock

Funding to go toward forum for International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Reports of student attendance ‘dwindling’ at Surrey schools: teachers’ association

STA president said he’s heard from staff that students might not attend in-person for 4th quarter

Sports broadcaster and 30-year high school football coach Farhan Lalji. (Image via farhanlalji.com)
Farhan Lalji chats about the new B.C. high school sports governance proposal

Lalji, a 30-year high school football coach, thinks the new proposal will be bad for student athletes

Delta character - and former White Rock resident - Pansy May Stuttard inspects a loaded revolver in the cover photo for Jim Dwight and Gary Cullen’s fascinating biography, Lord don’t want me Devil won’t take me. Contributed photo
West Coast’s ‘Pistol-packin’ Pansy’ lives on in colourful biography

Infamous Delta character ended her days in White Rock and South Surrey

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
‘In grief for our dying world’: B.C. climate activists embark on 4-day protest

Demonstrators will walk through Vancouver for the first two days before boarding a ferry Sunday morning

Most Read