Opening salvo set for Taylor Swift trial against Denver DJ accused of groping
DENVER - Lawyers on both sides of a trial pitting pop star Taylor Swift against a Colorado radio personality she accused of groping her were expected on Tuesday to deliver opening statements to jurors hearing the case in a federal courtroom in Denver.
The process of selecting an eight-member jury was due to conclude early in the day, with presentations to follow from attorneys for the 27-year-old singer and David Mueller, who lost his job at Denver radio station KYGO-FM over Swift's allegation.
Mueller, 55, says he was falsely accused.
U.S. District Judge William Martinez and lawyers for the two parties spent Monday quizzing members of the jury pool to detect any bias, asking, for example, if any were fans of Swift or regular listeners of KYGO.
Swift, one of America's top-selling recording stars, attended Monday's proceedings, turning to face the prospective jurors when introduced by the judge, then taking notes on a pad of paper during the selection process.
She made it into the courtroom without being spotted by the media outside the downtown Denver courthouse. Her mother, Andrea Swift, was also present. The singer is expected to take the witness stand during the trial.
The litigation centers on her allegations that Mueller slipped his hand under her dress and grabbed her bare buttocks as the two posed during a meet-and-greet session before a June 2013 concert in Denver.
"It was not an accident, it was completely intentional, and I have never been so sure of anything in my life," Swift said in a deposition.
Mueller sued first, saying Swift fabricated the allegation and pressured station management to oust him from his $150,000-per-year job. His case cites tort claims of interference with contractual obligations and prospective business relations.
His lawsuit denies anything inappropriate occurred during the brief backstage encounter in which he and his girlfriend stood on either side of the pop star.
Swift countersued for assault and battery, and the two civil complaints were merged for trial. In court filings, Swift said her representatives informed KYGO management about the incident, but she did not demand Mueller be fired.
Swift, one of the most successful contemporary music artists, earned $170 million between June 2015 and June 2016, following a world tour and her best-selling "1989" album, Forbes Magazine said.
Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Clarence Fernandez.