Taylor Swift’s mother cried during opening statements at a civil trial involving her daughter’s claim that she was groped by a former radio disc jockey in Denver.
Andrea Swift became emotional Tuesday when a lawyer pointed her out in a courtroom and described the close mother-daughter relationship.
The opening statements came after eight jurors were selected Tuesday to decide the case.
David Mueller sued Swift, claiming her false accusation cost him his job at Colorado country music station KYGO-FM. Swift countersued, claiming she was sexually assaulted.
The suit arises from a photo snapped at a backstage meet-and-greet before a 2013 concert. Swift claims Mueller grabbed her buttock. A photograph obtained by TMZ but sealed by the court shows Mueller with his hand behind Swift, just below her waist.
Mueller testified Tuesday that he wants to clear his name and recover earnings he lost after being fired. He is seeking up to $3 million US.
‘What’s wrong with this picture?’
Swift’s lawyer attacked Mueller’s credibility, claiming he changed his story multiple times and destroyed evidence after the singer accused him of groping her.
Swift’s attorney, Douglas Baldridge, said in Tuesday’s opening argument that Mueller gave seven accounts of what happened and destroyed taped conversations about it with his bosses, who fired him.
Baldridge asked jurors: “What’s wrong with this picture? A woman gets assaulted, a woman reports it, and she gets sued.”
The attorney said his superstar client is “absolutely certain” she was sexually assaulted and will prove it in court. He said Swift is seeking a symbolic $1 in her counterclaim and isn’t trying to bankrupt Mueller, she just showing others that “you can always say no.”
Baldridge asked jurors what possible reason Swift would have to make up the allegation
He emphasized the age difference between Mueller, then 51, and Swift, then 23.
Mueller wants ‘his good name back’
Mueller’s attorney showed jurors the photo in question
Lawyer Gabriel McFarland said Tuesday in his opening statement that the photo shows his client’s hand “is not underneath Miss Swift’s skirt, and her skirt is not rumpled in any fashion.”
He said no one on Swift’s team saw anything amiss. The attorney said Mueller wants “what was his good name back, his reputation” and compensation after being fired from his $150,000-a-year job.
He told jurors that inappropriate touching is wrong, but falsely accusing someone of the offence is equally unacceptable.
Potential jurors were asked about whether they had seen any photographs related to the case, and whether, and to what extent, they were fans of Swift’s.
One man who ultimately was not selected told U.S. District Judge William Martinez on Tuesday that he was not necessarily a fan, “but her music is catchy and it’s good vibes.” The judge laughed and said, “very good.”
The case is being heard in federal court because Swift and Mueller live in different states — Swift in Nashville, Tennessee, Mueller in Colorado.
The trial is expected to last about two weeks.
About a dozen fans lined up outside the courthouse, including three high school students who showed up before dawn, for a pass allowing them inside to watch the trial.
“I love how she’s suing him for $1 because she doesn’t need the money but she wants to make it a point that women don’t need to take this,” said Vega Zaringlee, 12.