Judge Dismisses DJ’s Slander Claim in Taylor Swift Groping Lawsuit
A judge has thrown out a former radio personality's slander claim against Taylor Swift in an ongoing lawsuit that centers around a groping incident that allegedly took place in 2013.
David Mueller was fired from Denver radio station KYGO after an alleged incident backstage at Swift's gig at the Pepsi Center. The country-turned-pop singer says Mueller reached up her skirt and touched her inappropriately while they were posing for a photo during a meet and greet.
KYGO fired Mueller after Swift’s team reported the alleged incident to station management, and Mueller filed suit against Swift in 2015, claiming slander and deliberate interference with his employment contract. According to People, he lost a portion of that suit on Wednesday (May 31) when a judge granted a summary judgment against Mueller and in favor of Swift, her mother Andrea and Frank Bell, who works on Swift's management team, "as to Plaintiff’s claims for slander per se and slander per quod."
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In the judgment, the judge states that Swift's actions do not constitute slander because "there would appear to be nothing improper about Swift — or any other person — making an honest report to an entity with which she does business that one of its employees assaulted or harassed her." The judge also mentioned key evidence that Mueller was said to have had, but then apparently lost, saying, "This is especially troubling because it appears that Mueller was already consulting with his lawyer about possible legal action at the time the audio files were edited and lost … but it is more troubling that counsel failed to assure this evidence was preserved."
Other aspects of Mueller's case will be allowed to move forward.
Swift responded to Mueller's lawsuit with a countersuit alleging assault and battery. She gave her side of the story in a deposition in July of 2016, saying, “Right as the moment came for us to pose for the photo, he took his hand and put it up my dress and grabbed onto my ass cheek and no matter how much I scooted over it was still there,” according to Billboard.
“A meet and greet is supposed to be a situation where you’re thanking people for coming, you’re supposed to be welcoming people into your home, which is the arena for that day, and for someone to violate that hospitality in that way, I was completely stunned.”
Mueller and his lawyers ridiculed Swift's version of events by saying, "The contention that Mr. Mueller lifted up Ms. Swift’s skirt and grabbed her bare ass (while standing with his girlfriend, in front of Ms. Swift’s photographer and other staff, as well as Ms. Swift’s highly trained security personnel, during an employer sponsored, VIP, backstage meet and greet) defies credibility."
In October of 2016, a judge consented to seal a photo from the meet and greet that Swift claims supports her claim of assault until the case goes to trial. Her countersuit is set to go to court in August.
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