Taylor Swift's defense team digs into former DJ in cross-examination to kick off trial

Jury seated: 6 women; 2 men
Posted at 7:48 PM, Aug 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-08 22:03:06-04

DENVER – Taylor Swift’s defense attorney dug into the former radio DJ accused of groping her during a 2013 photo shoot at the onset of questioning in the trial Tuesday—after the DJ’s attorney called him to the stand first thing.

A jury of six women and two men were seated to start the day Tuesday morning after a half-day of jury selection Monday.

In the opening statements, David Mueller's attorney discussed how his client had his life ruined by the allegations, and how he'd lost his dream career over something he didn't do.

But Swift's attorneys set out to cast the case as a sexual assault case -- saying Swift was victimized and shaken by Mueller's alleged actions.

“She’s trying to tell people out there you can say no when someone puts their hands on you,” Swift’s attorney, J. Doug Baldridge, said to wrap his opening statement. “Grabbing a woman’s rear end is an assault, and it’s always wrong. Any woman—rich, poor, famous or not—is entitled to have that not happen.”

By 10 a.m., Mueller had taken the stand and was being questioned by his own attorney.

“I just want to clear my name,” Mueller said of his intentions behind the lawsuit, in which he accuses Swift and her team of fabricating the story that he’d touched the young pop star’s bottom during the photo.

Mueller talked about how he and his girlfriend at the time, Shannon Melcher, had gone to the meet-and-greet for work as KYGO employees despite not being huge fans of Swift’s—as many of the other people at the pre-concert event were.

He acknowledged touching her—but more in an accidental manner, he said. Their arms had touched when they tried to get together for the photo, Mueller claimed, and he “may have” brushed his fist against what he thought were her ribs.

He detailed being kicked out of Swift’s show later that evening after he and his girlfriend were accosted by Swift’s security team, and said that his superior at KYGO, Eddie Haskell, had called him that night to tell him he was on paid leave pending a meeting with Haskell and station general manager Bob Call.

Mueller said Haskell had told him after the photo shoot that he had actually grabbed Swift’s bottom, and Mueller alleged that Haskell had mentioned something about Swift wearing biker shorts underneath her skirt.

But he also said that in the meeting Haskell and Call had called the next day, that he never told Call about what he says Haskell told him.

He also acknowledged, under his own attorney’s questioning, the so-called mishaps that led to a nearly-2-hour audio tape of that meeting—which brought on his firing the next day—being destroyed either accidentally or unknowingly after he sent an edited-down version of the tape to his lawyer months later.

But when Swift’s attorney, Baldridge, took over to cross-examine Mueller, Mueller was immediately put on the defensive.

Baldridge peppered Mueller with question after question, forcing Mueller to acknowledge some things in the case that could prove unfavorable to his reputation.

He consistently pointed back to things involving Mueller and KYGO that happened before Mueller even attended the Swift meet-and-greet, which Baldridge and Swift’s team say show Mueller was already likely on the way out before the Swift allegation came to light.

That included a conversation Mueller had with his talent agent in which she told him that KYGO was discussing possibly terminating him for insubordination for not following directives from Haskell regarding a spat over a possible new female cohost the station was pondering hiring to shore up Mueller’s morning show.

Baldridge also dug into Mueller’s relationship with Haskell—forcing Mueller to admit that he and his boss didn’t see eye-to-eye on many issues. Mueller said it was “abundantly clear” Haskell was a vindictive person.

He also forced Mueller, who had been on the stand for more than 5 hours when this line of questioning came to be, to talk about how he felt Swift had been “cold and standoffish” toward him when he entered the photo room that day—June 2, 2013—something Baldridge pinned to Mueller having an ego as a local radio host.

Baldridge consistently forced Mueller to thumb back through a years-old deposition he did of Mueller, and forced Mueller to admit that he had said things in the past, under sworn oath, that he seemed hesitant to talk about in court Tuesday—including his thoughts on Swift’s feelings toward him that evening when he entered the meet-and-greet room.

Court wrapped for the day just before 5 p.m. and will be back in session Wednesday morning at 8:45. Denver7 will have another day of continuing coverage in the case then, so check back for more. If you missed anything Tuesday, read back through our live blog for further details.