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Taylor Swift Groping Trial: DJ Says He May Have Touched Singer’s ‘Ribs’

An eight-person jury in Denver began hearing testimony on Tuesday in the trial of Taylor Swift vs. Colorado DJ David Mueller.

Mueller is accused of grabbing Swift on the buttocks without her permission during a visit backstage at the Pepsi Center in Denver, in June 2013. Mueller is seeking compensation, maintaining that Swift’s reporting the incident led to Mueller being fired from his job at local radio station KYGO.

A photo of the incident, in which Mueller’s hand is positioned out of sight but behind Swift, was shown during opening statements and multiple times throughout Tuesday’s testimony from Mueller. He repeatedly denied inappropriately touching Swift, and described how he remembered the moment.

Mueller stated that he didn’t want to go to the Sunday night concert, because he had to work the morning show shift early the next day. After standing in line for more than an hour, Mueller and his then-girlfriend and colleague, Shannon Melcher, entered the photo booth room where Swift was available to meet and pose for photos.

Mueller testified that he and Melcher were in the room with Swift and five other people: Swift, a photographer, a personal assistant, a tour manager, and a bodyguard.

Mueller said that something happened that caused him to conclude that Swift was acting “cold and standoffish” toward him, terms he also used previously in a deposition.

“When she didn’t invite me over to pose with the photograph, I considered that cold and standoffish toward me,” Mueller said during Tuesday’s testimony. “She wasn’t that way toward Shannon. I think everyone deserves professional respect. She didn’t welcome me to the photograph.”

Mueller also said he felt “invisible,” as if Swift had forgotten him, in the 30 to 40 seconds that he and Melcher were present in the photo booth room.

“At almost the same time that [Swift] said ‘Let’s take a photo’ or ‘How about a photo,’ she put her right arm around Shannon [Melcher] and pulled her close, and the two of them turned toward the photographer, who was to Taylor’s left and my left,” he said. “I turned and saw the photographer for the first time.”

He said the photographer was using an iPhone or an iPad to take photos, and that he “immediately started moving” to get into the photo frame.

“I turned toward the photographer and I had my right arm extended with my hand closed and my palm facing down,” he said.

Swift’s attorney, J. Douglas Baldridge, said during opening statements that Mueller has changed his story about the incident, and referenced one statement that Mueller had made previously, that he could not have “done it” because his hand behind Swift was in a fist.

Mueller also referenced a fist during questioning from his own attorney, Gabriel McFarland, who asked if it was a change in Mueller’s position to say that he denied the accusation because his hand was in a fist.

“My hand was closed,” Mueller said. “I don’t know what he was referring to, I couldn’t have done ‘it’ if I didn’t know what ‘it’ was was. … I don’t think it was a change of position.”

After the photo was taken, Mueller testified that Swift shook his hand and that he and Melcher exited the photo booth room and moved along to other areas at the venue. Shortly after, Mueller was approached by a man he believed was a security officer, who showed him the photo and accused him of grabbing Swift.

During Tuesday’s trial proceedings, Baldridge placed into evidence a document containing notes that Mueller took during a phone call with his talent agent, Heather Cohen, executive vice president of The Weiss Agency. The call occurred on May 29, 2013, four days before the incident backstage between Mueller and Swift. The notes stated that KYGO program director at Lincoln Financial Media, John Dimick, was prepared to terminate both Mueller and his morning show co-host, Ryan “Ryno” Kliesch, due to insubordination.

During his testimony, Mueller described his relationship with his direct supervisor, KYGO program director Eddie Haskell, as “difficult.” When asked if Mueller previously alleged that it was Haskell who had inappropriately touched Swift’s buttocks, he responded, “No.”

“In my mind, it wasn’t as if Eddie was confessing or admitting to doing that,” Mueller said. “I just thought he was telling one of his goofy stories.”

When McFarland questioned his client, he asked about where and how exactly the contact between Mueller and Swift occurred.

“My hand came into contact with part of her body,” Mueller said. “I felt what appeared to be or seemed to be a rib cage or a rib, ribs.”

Mueller also said that his hand and Swift’s hand touched, and his arm and Swift’s arm touched as they posed together for the photo.

He responded, “No, I did not,” when asked if he touched Swift inappropriately at any time.

“It’s not called inappropriate touching,” Baldridge said. “It’s assault.”

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