Updated 8:20 p.m. ET
A judge has thrown out a lawsuit by former radio host David Mueller against singer Taylor Swift, ruling that Mueller hadn’t proved that she set out to get him fired.
Mueller’s claims against Swift’s mother and her radio representative continue. The singer’s countersuit accusing Mueller of groping her during a photo op also remains.
The ruling came one week into the trial in Denver. Swift had requested both dismissal and summary judgment. Closing arguments are set for Monday.
Mueller sued first, two years years after the incident — the fact of which is undisputed, even in Mueller’s initial filing — took place, maintaining Swift and her team misidentified him and then got him fired after misreporting the incident to his bosses. Swift quickly countersued, for sexual assault. The current trial has been covering both cases.
Mueller sought $3 million in damages and the chance to clear his name, while Swift asked for a ceremonial $1 judgment and to “serve as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts,” as Swift’s attorney wrote in her countersuit, promising to donate any damages resulting in a favorable judgment for her to groups that support victims of assault.
Mueller was the first witness to testify in the case, according to the New York Times, admitting that it was “possible” he had inappropriately touched Swift by accident. He was also questioned about several devices that supposedly contained recordings of the phone call in which he was fired. All of the devices were accidentally broken, he said. “He destroyed the evidence,” Douglas Baldridge, Swift’s attorney said, as BuzzFeed reported. Mueller maintained their destruction were accidents.
Mueller accused a former colleague, Hershel Coomer — known as “Eddie Haskell” — of being the one who groped Swift, which trailed Coomer in subsequent job interviews. “It’s an absolute lie, and in fact, it took him two years to make that story up,” the Denver Post quotes Coomer as saying.
The following day, Swift’s mother, Andrea Swift, took the stand, at times tearing up during her testimony. Asked why her daughter didn’t immediately pursue charges against Mueller, she replied that she “did not want this event to define her life.”
On Thursday, Taylor Swift herself took the stand, giving sharp responses to questioning from Mueller’s attorney. “I’m being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are a product of his decisions,” Swift was reported as saying.
Asked whether the grope could have been accidental, Swift responded: “He did not touch my arm. He did not touch my hand. He grabbed my bare a**.” Asked why no one else saw the incident, which reportedly took place while Swift’s back was against a wall, she responded: “The only person who would have a direct eye line is someone laying underneath my skirt, and we didn’t have anyone positioned there.”
Stephanie Simbeck, who took the photograph central to the case that was unearthed by TMZ, said the same day as Swift’s testimony that she “saw it happen. I saw his hand grab her a**.”
Friday brought testimony from Mueller’s ex-girlfriend, who along with Mueller’s former radio co-host says she didn’t notice any groping, and Swift’s bodyguard, who says he did and subsequently requested men to “keep their hands up high.”