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Taylor Swift's Mom Wanted to Keep Groping Allegation Private

by James Anderson and Tatiana Flowers
Thursday Aug 10, 2017
Tree Paine, publicist for pop singer Taylor Swift, heads back to a hotel after the second day of a civil trial to determine whether a radio host groped pop singer in a case in federal court
Tree Paine, publicist for pop singer Taylor Swift, heads back to a hotel after the second day of a civil trial to determine whether a radio host groped pop singer in a case in federal court   (Source:AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER -- Taylor Swift's mother said she didn't call police to report allegations that a radio station DJ groped her daughter before a concert because she didn't want the moment to define the pop star's life. Likewise, a liaison for Taylor Swift who deals with radio stations across the country asked the DJ's boss to keep a photo of the alleged assault confidential.

Wednesday's testimony highlighted an initial attempt to keep the encounter in Denver out of the spotlight. Yet four years later, Swift and former DJ David Mueller are embroiled in a widely publicized federal court case.

"I did not want to make her relive this moment over and over again," said a tearful Andrea Swift, who described her daughter as "humiliated" and "really shaken" after a meet-and-greet with Mueller.

"We absolutely wanted to keep it private, but we didn't want him to get away with it," she said.

Mueller sued Taylor Swift after her team told his bosses at a country music station that he had reached under her dress and touched her backside during a photo op in 2013. He is seeking at least $3 million, saying the allegation cost him his job and reputation.

Swift countersued Mueller, claiming sexual assault. She is seeking a symbolic $1, saying she wants to serve as an example to other women who have been assaulted.

Andrea Swift testified Wednesday that her daughter never urged any specific action against Mueller.

She also said the encounter changed their interactions with the public, explaining that Taylor Swift's meet-and-greets are now smaller and her interaction with fans at concerts is more limited.

"It absolutely shattered our trust," Andrea Swift said. "It scared us, scared us very badly."

The final testimony of the day came from Frank Bell, Swift's liaison.

He said he emailed the photo of Swift, Mueller and Mueller's girlfriend to Robert Call, KYGO's general manager, for use in Call's investigation of Mueller. In the email sent the morning after the concert, Bell asked Call to keep the photo confidential.

Bell, a longtime friend of the singer-songwriter's father, also said he didn't ask that Mueller be fired but that "appropriate action be taken."

Earlier in the day, Mueller testified that the photo taken before the concert was "weird and awkward," but he insisted that he touched Swift in the ribs, not in the rear, as she alleges in her lawsuit.

Swift's attorney Douglas Baldridge repeatedly asked Mueller why his right hand was behind Swift in the picture.

Mueller said his hand was touching Swift's skirt after he put his arm around her and their arms got crossed.

"My hand was at rib-cage level and apparently it went down," Mueller said.

In the image, shown to jurors during opening statements but not publicly released, Mueller's hand is behind Swift, just below her waist. Both are smiling.

McFarland told jurors that the photo does not show Mueller's hand under Swift's skirt and that the skirt was not rumpled.

Baldridge, however, said several people noticed the pop star was upset after meeting with Mueller.

Her bodyguard, Greg Dent, has testified in a deposition that he saw Mueller lift Swift's skirt, Baldridge told jurors.

In addition, Baldridge quoted a deposition by Swift's photographer Stephanie Simbeck, who said Swift uttered "that guy" had grabbed her behind.

Dent and Simbeck are listed as possible witnesses at the trial.

Baldridge told jurors in his opening statement that Swift is "absolutely certain" she was sexually assaulted by Mueller, and the photo is "damning" proof of it.

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