Judge Sanctions Former DJ in Taylor Swift Groping Lawsuit for Destroying Evidence
A judge in Colorado has sanctioned former Denver radio personality David Mueller for destroying key evidence in his ongoing lawsuit with Taylor Swift over an alleged groping incident.
The Denver Post reports that U.S. District Judge William Martinez ruled Wednesday (July 19) that Swift’s attorneys will be allowed to question Mueller in regard to a two-hour audio recording he secretly taped during an interview with his radio station boss the day before he was fired from his job at Denver station KYGO. His firing resulted from Swift's claim that he groped her during a meet and greet after her Denver concert in 2013.
KYGO fired Mueller after Swift’s team reported the alleged incident to station management, and he filed suit against Swift in 2015, alleging slander and deliberate interference with his employment contract. He recorded the conversation with his boss on his phone and transferred copies to a laptop, iPad and computer, and later provided portions of the audio to his attorneys to help in his case, but admits he has since either lost or destroyed all copies of the original.
“He made the decision — inexplicably, in the court’s view — to alter the original evidence and to present his lawyer with only ‘clips’ hand-picked from the underlying evidence,” Judge Martinez writes.
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Mueller and his lawyers ridiculed Swift’s version of events. In October of 2016 a judge consented to seal a photo from the meet and greet that Swift says supports her claim until the case goes to trial, and in June of 2017 a judge threw out Mueller's slander claim. Swift's countersuit is set to go to court in August of 2017.
Mueller's former boss, Robert Call, says Mueller changed his story about the incident when asked about it. Judge Martinez ruled that Swift's attorneys will be allowed to question him about the recording, and the jury in the case will be allowed to consider the relevance of Mueller destroying the evidence, but Swift's attorneys will not be able to discuss the sanctions levied against Mueller in open court.
The judge had harsh words for Mueller in handing down his decision, writing, “The court takes an even more dim view of plaintiff’s counsel’s unexplained failure to obtain, listen to, preserve and produce the complete audio file, but that is a separate issue from whether plaintiff should be sanctioned.”
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