Taylor Swift has won her lawsuit against David Mueller, the Denver-based radio DJ who she accused of groping her at a pre-concert photo op in 2013, the New York Times reports. A federal jury in Denver found that Mueller had committed assault and battery and ordered him to pay Swift the symbolic amount of $1 she’d asked for.
Mueller had no one but himself to blame for his legal defeat, and not just in the sense that if he hadn’t chosen to sexually assault someone, none of this would have happened. He was the reason the case was in court to begin with: rather than bring charges (and the attendant publicity) back in 2013, Swift and her team spoke to his employer, radio station KYGO, and they quietly fired him. That would have been that, except that in 2015, Mueller sued Swift for $3 million, saying that she, along with her mother Andrea Swift and manager Frank Bell, had lied to his employers about the incident and gotten him unjustly fired. Rather than settle, Swift countersued, to make the point that women should be able to report assault without fearing lawsuits. Both trials were heard simultaneously over the last week.
Last Thursday, in testimony that sharply refuted Mueller’s account of the 2013 incident, Swift stood by her story and suffered no nonsense from Mueller’s legal team. “I am not going to allow your client to make me feel like it is in any way my fault, because it isn’t,” she testified when asked about Mueller’s firing. “I am being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are a product of his decisions and not mine.”
According to Variety, Swift broke down in tears during closing arguments when Mueller’s attorney, Gabriel McFarland, referred to a photo of Swift awkwardly smiling and cringing away while Mueller’s hand appears to be on her rear end, and said, “Look at Ms. Swift’s face and ask yourself: Is that the face of a person who just had a strange man grab her butt?” Swift’s lawyer, Douglas Baldridge, countered in his own closing argument that the correct questions for the jury to ask were, “Will aggressors like David Mueller be allowed to victimize the victim? Is the victimization going to result in that guy getting a payday?”
The answer to both of Baldridge’s questions was no. Mueller’s lawsuit against Swift was dismissed by the judge on Friday; as part of their verdict Monday, the jury found that Swift’s mother and manager were also blameless in Mueller’s firing. In a statement, Swift thanked the judge, jury, her legal team, and anyone who supported her, and announced that she would be working to help others in similar situations:
I acknowledge the privilege that I benefit from in life, in society, and in my ability to shoulder the enormous cost of defending myself in a trial like this. My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard. Therefore, I will be making donations in the near future to multiple organizations that help sexual assault victims defend themselves.