Pop superstar Taylor Swift broke down in tears Monday during the closing arguments in her civil trial alleging that a former radio DJ groped her before a 2013 concert.
The singer turned away from the public gallery to wipe her eyes as Gabriel McFarland, the lawyer for David Mueller, questioned whether his client would have any reason to assault the star.
“I don’t know what kind of person grabs or gropes a music superstar, but it’s not that guy,” McFarland told the federal court in Denver.
He repeatedly said the singer was wrong in her assertion that Mueller had stuck his hand under her skirt and “grabbed her bare ass cheek” during a meet-and-greet before Swift’s gig at the Pepsi Center.
The singer’s mother, Andrea Swift, had tears in her eyes during the session as she handed her daughter tissues.
Swift alleges that Mueller fondled her buttocks during a pre-gig photo opportunity. Her aides complained to the DJ’s radio station at the time and he lost his job.
Mueller launched a $3 million lawsuit against Swift for loss of earnings, arguing it was her allegations that had got him sacked, while the popstar counter-sued for sexual assault.
US District Judge William Martinez scaled back the case on Friday, ruling that there was no evidence for Mueller to be entitled to damages from Swift personally.
Martinez said, however, it was possible a jury could award Mueller damages for Swift’s staff interfering with his employment contract with Denver station KYGO.
The six woman, two-man jury must decide if Swift’s mother and radio consultant Frank Bell are liable for damages by pressuring the station to fire him.
If the jury finds in Mueller’s favor, damages will be limited to the amount he was owed in the remaining 18 months of his two-year contract.
Also pending is Taylor Swift’s claim that Mueller’s actions constituted sexual assault and battery. She is seeking a nominal $1 in damages.