Taylor Swift groping case: Live updates from Day 5

Posted at 10:16 AM, Aug 11, 2017

DENVER – Taylor Swift was confident and defiant when she was called to the stand Thursday to testify at the trial centering around her alleged groping at the hands of a former Denver radio DJ before one of her concerts in Denver in June 2013.

Friday is Day 5 of the trial, which has been scheduled for 9 days and is expected to wrap sometime next week.

Read below for the latest updates from U.S. District Court of Colorado. Recording devices and cameras aren’t allowed in court, so all updates are coming through here. (All times Mountain):

12:01 p.m.

Swift’s attorneys now cross-examining Melcher, asking about the timeline of the day of the Swift show.

“You told Ms. Swift she was a great role model for girls,” attorney asks Melcher. “I did.”

Melcher says she is unaware of what was going on behind Swift’s back. She admits that Swift “gravitated toward” her during the picture. She did not see where Mueller put his hands during the picture.

Attorney now pressing Melcher on the Haskell-Mueller conversation about the “bike shorts,” has Melcher acknowledge that she heard everything second-hand from Mueller.

She also says that the security team “did not rough [Mueller] up,” and says neither she nor Mueller called police ever that evening.

Melcher says she asked Mueller if he touched Swift inappropriately at one point, and that he replied, “How could you ask me that?” – something the attorney called “odd.”

She says the time she was groped by the other KYGO employee was March 2013 at an NHL game. She says she doesn’t believe she ever reported that incident. When the same man groped her at the Miranda Lambert concert later, she reported.

“I was reluctant to,” she says, due to the fact that this individual had a habit of doing similar things.

But she says at that time, she didn’t feel it was necessary to go to human resources.

“You just wanted to move on, right?” the attorney asks.

“You could say that, yes,” Melcher replies.

Melcher says it bothered Mueller “very much” that someone had touched her inappropriately, and wanted her to go to HR. But she didn’t want to, though she did eventually. She agrees that it was the “right thing” to report it to HR. She also agrees that Swift has the right to have her allegation investigated by KYGO HR.

Now back to McFarland asking questions. He asks one, but that’s it. No further from Swift’s team.

We are heading to lunch break, and will resume at 1:15 p.m. with only lawyers and Judge Martinez. Those arguments will be closed, and court will open again to the public afterward with Swift’s team calling witnesses.


11:47 a.m.

Someone came up to Mueller and told him come with him. They put their drinks on the floor. Melcher stayed where she was, she said.

“And that was that,” Melcher says, adding that she couldn’t overhear the conversation between Mueller and the security team.

Later that evening, after security escorted Mueller away, Melcher was escorted away as well.

She was first asked if she as there with Mueller. She looked back to see David, and it did not look like it was a good interaction.

They were both taken into a back hallway and room.

At that point she overheard exchange between security and Mueller: “It was more of an interrogation,” she says.

She says they were asking him, “Are you happy with what you’ve done,” and Mueller was saying, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

She says she was trying to help Mueller.

“I was told very bluntly to close my mouth,” Melcher says. She says Mueller was also asking security to call police.

After they were kicked out, Melcher and Mueller spent the rest of the night together, which she said was difficult.

After Mueller was fired, he was “devastated” and “in a shock,” Melcher says.

She says the KYGO job was his “dream job.”
“I think it would have been devastating to anybody,” she says.

She says they discussed what happened: “It was a topic of conversation all the time.”

But she says that Mueller consistently maintained that he never inappropriately touched Swift.

“His story did not change,” she says.


11:45 a.m.

Mueller asked her to attend Swift concert with him. They arrived late, and Haskell and Kliesch were already gone, so they went down to where they were told to be: at the fan meet-and-greet.

She says “it was a little strange” that they were in the fan meet-and-greet because Mueller wasn’t usually separated from the talent and programming department. But she says she was not “bothered.”

Once they entered the “photo booth” room, she said she started talking with Swift—“just chit-chatting,” and said they had a “nice conversation.”

“Quite suddenly it was picture time,” Melcher says.

She says she was on Swift’s right side, and that Mueller was “some distance away,” according to McFarland, at the time of the photo.

“It happened rather quickly,” Melcher says.

She says she did not see Mueller move into the picture, but “sensed” it.

McFarland asking her about the other people in the room, who she said she didn’t pay much attention to and didn’t notice anything remarkable.

She says she didn’t notice sudden movement from Swift, or sudden movement by Swift toward her and away from Mueller.

After they left the photo booth, they started going away from the backstage area, Melcher says.

She says she doesn’t recall anyone from Swift’s team communicating with them specifically after the photo was taken.

“I did not. Of course I was facing forward. I don’t have eyes in the back of my head. But I did not notice anything of that type, no,” Melcher says.

She says Mueller’s demeanor was somewhat different afterward. She says she and Mueller had a conversation about the meet-and-greet situation “feeling odd” because of the quick photo and them being in with the public.

Mueller felt like he was removed from the conversation with Swift, Melcher said. She says Mueller mentioned it was “odd” he had to try and “dive into the photo.”

They then went upstairs near the front entrance to the Pepsi Center, and at some point, Mueller and Melcher separated for about 15 minutes.

Mueller had a conversation with some KYGO employees outside, including Haskell, and when Mueller came back to rejoin Melcher, she says that Mueller relayed the conversation about the alleged “biker shorts” comment Haskell made (according to Mueller).

They then went and got a drink, and were walking around.

“And a couple of minutes after that, the night changed,” Melcher said.


11:28 a.m.

Melcher says she had a good relationship with Mueller, and was “very well acquainted” with her family.

“We had a very nice relationship. I have nice memories of our relationship,” Melcher said.

She says she never saw Mueller inappropriately touch another woman, nor did he do so to her.

McFarland asks Melcher if she’s ever been inappropriately touched by a man in her life. She says yes, and that it happened while she was employed by KYGO’s ownership company, Lincoln Financial Media.

She says it was at a concert, she believes a Miranda Lambert concert, and that a coworker had grabbed her backside while walking through the concert.

She says human resources discussed that incident with her and the other person. She says from that point on, “it was deemed over.” She says she doesn’t know if that man had any disciplinary actions levied against him, and that he continued to work there.


11:22 a.m.

Shannon Melcher, who was Mueller’s girlfriend at the time of the alleged groping and was on the other side of Swift during the photo, is now on the stand.

She is currently the VP of sales for iHeartMedia of Southern Colorado, and manages 8 radio stations’ account executives in Colorado Springs and Pueblo.

“I left because I was ready for something new, ready for growth. I had been an account executive there for many years and decided I was ready for a change,” Melcher says of why she left KYGO.

She met Mueller January 2013. They dated throughout that year, and ended things slowly at the end of that year.

She says there wasn’t a particular thing that ended the relationship. They “grew apart as a couple” but still remained friendly, she says.

She says working with Mueller was “wonderful” and that the station was excited for a new morning show.


11:17 a.m.

Baldridge asks Kliesch if he knew about Mueller allegedly destroying his cellphone.

“I know that there was an incident where he spilled coffee on a laptop,” he says.

“Did he tell you he threw his cellphone in the garbage?” Baldridge asks.

“No,” Kliesch says.

He admits that no one came to try and get those contents from his phone.

Kliesch is now excused. Shannon Melcher, who was David Mueller’s girlfriend at the time, is called to the stand.


11:14 a.m.

Kliesch says he was previously involved with McFarland in a different case, and that he met with Baldridge a few weeks ago to discuss the trial.

McFarland ends his questioning, and Baldridge now gets to cross-examine him.

Baldridge claiming that Kliesch told him before that the main dispute was between Mueller and KYGO’s parent company.

“What I said is the reason Mr. Mueller was suing Ms. Swift was because it was the alleged event which caused KYGO to fire him,” Kliesch says.

Baldridge is arguing that Kliesch has nothing to tell the jury about the alleged incident because he was not there.

Kliesch says that Eddie Haskell made the “bike shorts” comment to him after the meet-and-greet, and it’s thus a KYGO issue, but that Kliesch didn’t report it to KYGO.

“I really just dismissed a lot of things that Eddie said because quite frankly, I didn’t believe a lot of things he said,” Kliesch says.

Because you didn’t like Eddie Haskell, Baldridge argues.

“I didn’t say I disliked him, but it was challenging to work with him a lot of the time,” he continues.

Kliesch agrees that Swift’s team was right to be upset if the allegations were true, and that upon an investigation, if the allegations were found to be true, that it would be right for KYGO to fire Mueller.


11:02 a.m.

Kliesch says Haskell required him and Mueller to attend the meet-and-greet before Taylor Swift’s show on June 2, 2013.

He and his wife met up with Haskell, but Mueller and his girlfriend weren’t there yet. They didn’t wait for them, as Haskell said Mueller would go with another group.

He met with Swift for a moment at the meet-and-greet, then went on a backstage tour led by Andrea Swift.

Then he went back to where their seats were, and “things started getting a little weird,” so he left.

Haskell had called him and said “something had happened” and that he should plan on doing the KYGO morning show alone the next morning.

He said he got in touch with Mueller while waiting for the light rail, and he got the story from Mueller.

He says he thought Mueller was joking. “I couldn’t believe it,” he said.

“I thought Ashton Kutcher was going to pull up behind me and say I was on some kind of candid camera show. I could not believe what was happening,” Kliesch said. “I essentially was in shock. I could not believe what happened.”

“He said he didn’t do anything. He couldn’t believe what had happened,” Kliesch says Mueller told him.


10:56 a.m.

McFarland continues to question Kliesch about the hiring of a third, female radio cohost for their show, including Tracy Dixon, who did not take the job at the time, but did after Mueller was fired.

“I didn’t feel like Tracy was a good fit for our show. For the only reason, really, that we were really looking for somebody that did not sound like they were in radio. We wanted somebody who just sounded like an everyday person, and in my opinion, Tracy sounded more like a radio DJ, and that isn’t what Dave and I were looking for,” Kliesch says.

He says that both him and Mueller agreed on this, but Haskell didn’t agree with them. He said it caused a problem between the three of them.

“I don’t think that Eddie really liked the person that we liked,” Kliesch said.

Kliesch says at one point, Haskell called him and Mueller into his office and said that it would take a lot to buy them out of their contracts, which Kliesch says he believes was tied into their dislike of Dixon being an option and Haskell’s preference.

But he says he and Mueller treated Haskell respectfully, and said aside from that one conversation, he didn’t think his job was in jeopardy, though he said he was “a little nervous.”


10:49 a.m.

Judge Martinez says Andrea Swift has been excused for the day after making a "valiant effort" to remain in court. She missed court yesterday because she was sick.


10:36 a.m.

Reporters who were in the courtroom for the first hour-plus of court say Taylor Swift rolled her eyes several times at McFarland's line of questioning and persistent questioning of Dent's actions.


10:22 a.m.

Adding a third host, a woman, for the KYGO morning show was written into both Kliesch and Mueller’s contract. Both had already agreed the third host would be female.

“That’s something that everybody wanted,” Kliesch says.

He says that at some point, they had narrowed the list down to “four or five” potential candidates. But he says Tracy Dixon didn’t go through the same process, and had been talking with Eddie Haskell.

“She became a contender based on what our management and consultant [said],” Kliesch says.

Apparently the private sidebar had something to do with when we’re taking the morning break, which Judge Martinez says we are heading to right now.


10:17 a.m.

Kliesch moved from Nashville, Mueller from Minnesota to take the KYGO job.

He says their aim for the show was a “Seinfeldian” show that was family-friendly, and he says he and Mueller resumed their close relationship that they had in Kansas City.

McFarland gets into asking Kliesch more about Mueller’s interactions with women after a lengthy private conference involving the attorneys at the bench.

He says he’s never seen Mueller inappropriately touch or be disrespectful to women.

9:55 a.m.

Ryan “Ryno” Kliesch is now on the stand. He was David Mueller’s co-host on the KYGO morning show when the alleged incident occurred, and the two had been friends since meeting in 1997, Kliesch said.

Kliesch and Mueller "hit it off" while working together in San Diego, but were not co-hosts at the time.

They first worked together on-air in Kansas City starting in 2001. They were on-air together for 5 hours at a time, but Kliesch says the two were “together all the time” because they were constantly working to plan their next day’s shows.

After Kansas City, they next worked together at KYGO in Denver. They had been looking for a job together since they left Kansas City, and landed the KYGO job in 2013.


9:51 a.m.

Dent says he usually pays more attention to the men and teenage boys who come to the meet-and-greets, and again says he scans the lines beforehand. He says he saw Mueller and thought he’d been drinking once he entered the room.

Dent says he “was always of the opinion” that Swift was “too fan-friendly.”

“Too fan-friendly for me,” Dent says, saying that Swift would stop and interact with fans even if she wasn’t “working.”

“She protects and appreciates those fans, right?” Baldridge asks. “Yes,” Dent responds.

“Do you think Ms. Swift would want the whole world to see this photo?” Baldridge asks.

“No, I seriously doubt that,” Dent says.

Baldridge notes to Dent that there have been changes to the meet-and-greets since the Mueller incident.

“When guys would come up, I would tell guys to keep their hands up high,” Dent says.

“Because you experienced an assault and had to make changes, correct?” Baldridge asks.

“Yes,” he responds.

McFarland asks brief question about Dent’s ability to radio another team member, which Dent says he could have done but didn’t. That’s all from McFarland, and Baldridge declines to recross.

Dent is now off the stand.


9:44 a.m.

McFarland has one more question: Did he see Mueller’s hand touch Swift?

“I did not see his hand touched her physically. I saw his hand under her skirt. She reacted, pushed her skirt down, and moved closer to the other woman. So in my opinion, he touched her,” Dent said.

He is cross-examined by Swift’s lawyer, J. Doug Baldridge.

Baldridge points at Mueller: “Did that man right there, David Mueller, put his hand under her skirt?”

“I’m positive that’s the man,” Dent says.

McFarland now having Dent talk about de-escalation tactics, and that physical force is not always the best option.

He says that before June 2, 2013, he had never seen anyone grab Swift like he says Mueller did.


9:40 a.m.

Two other bodyguards started looking for Mueller after Dent took Swift to her dressing room.

He says he had “a hunch” that Mueller would be at the bar at the arena, and he indeed was when Dent went to look for him.

“I went straight to the bar area, and there he was,” Dent said.

But he said he never made contact with Mueller, nor did he ever speak a word to him.

McFarland asks about his instincts for protecting Swift from people touching her. He says when she was in crowds singing, he would not wait for her to ask him to step in.

He says the meet-and-greet was “more of a controlled environment” and that most people were picked to be there, or with Make-A-Wish, or with another local organization.

He says he perceives the environment to be “a little bit safer” for Swift than concerts.

“Did I get a feeling at this meet-and-greet that something bad was going to happen to her? No, I didn’t,” Dent says.

He says he “didn’t sense danger” when Mueller first entered the room, but when he touched her, he thought it was “inappropriate.” McFarland presses on, trying to get Dent to say whether he thought Mueller sensed danger for Swift when Mueller allegedly touched her.

“I guess I wouldn’t say it was dangerous, but I thought it was a violation of her body,” Dent says. 


9:33 a.m.

Dent is asked about how long he didn’t see Mueller’s hand because it was under Swift’s skirt.

“I didn’t time it, so I can’t tell you how long his hand was under her skirt,” Dent says. “I can’t tell you what [Mueller’s] intentions were, I’m not in his mind. I can only tell you what I saw him do.”

After the alleged touch, he looked to Swift for cues. She continued with the photo, so he held his position, he says.

“When it happened…I focused on her.”

He says Swift focused on the meet-and-greet after the photo, and Mueller and Melcher left the room. He says he didn’t speak to Swift at that point, and that he guesses the meet-and-greet went on for another 10 or 15 minutes. He says she didn’t give any further indication anything was wrong.

After the meet-and-greet, they found the photo, and Dent took Swift back to her dressing room, he says.

“We weren’t doing a police lineup. I was standing right there, I saw him. I didn’t need to look at the camera,” Dent says. “This wasn’t a police lineup, and I was standing 5 feet away from them, and I could see pretty well.”


9:26 a.m.

Dent says at the time of the picture, Mueller’s hand was not underneath Swift’s skirt. He says he’s positive.

“I saw his hand under her skirt, and I saw his hand low on her back when they took the picture,” Dent says.

He reiterates that he saw Mueller’s hand under her skirt and that Swift had jumped.

“I know she would have said something if she wanted me to intervene,” Dent says. “I know she wasn’t comfortable with it. That’s why she moved, pushed her skirt down, and moved closer to the woman.”

He acknowledges he didn’t say anything to Mueller at the time or say anything. He says he let Mueller leave because Swift wanted to finish the meet-and-greet.

He says he didn’t call his “backup” until the meet-and-greet was over.

He says he was “definitely sure” that Mueller had been drinking, though he says he can’t say “what level” Mueller was at. He wasn’t “staggering or falling down.”

“I take my cues from her in certain situations, and she continued with the photo,” Dent says.

He says as soon as the meet-and-greet was over, she went straight to her other staffers and said what happened, and they started looking through the camera for his picture.


9:19 a.m.

Dent says at the time of the photo, he could see all three of their backsides the entire time, and that he was focused on them when the photo was taken.

He says again he was in that position to make sure nobody came in from behind.

McFarland asks him if he saw Mueller put his hand under Swift’s skirt.

“No, I know I saw it. I don’t believe I saw it. I know I saw it,” Dent says. “When he went to put his arm around her, his hand went under her skirt. She jumped, pushed her skirt down, and moved closer to the girl (Melcher).”

Dent says he moved a little, and since Swift didn’t give him any indication to do anything, he stood off to the side while she continued the meet and greet.

He says he didn’t do anything because Swift had told him that sometimes he was “a little too mean.”

Dent says the inappropriate touching happened before they snapped the picture. How does he know, he’s asked. “Because I was standing right there,” he says.


9:15 a.m.

Dent says that he did not hear what Mueller or Shannon Melcher talked about with Swift, and that he had no interaction with either when they were in the photo booth that day.

He says he was present when every photo was taken, but doesn’t recall how many photos were taken.

McFarland has Dent look at an exhibit in the case, which is a layout that Dent drew of the photo booth’s layout. McFarland asks if this is an accurate representation of the photo booth room.

“I mean, it’s just a square I drew. I’m not an artist,” Dent says, saying the drawing, which appears to be a rough sketch, is just a general outline.

Dent is shown the photo of Swift with Mueller and Melcher. He says he believes he was standing on the side Melcher was on.


9:06 a.m.

Dent says he stays off to the side of the photos, but says he’s “two steps away” from being in a photo in these “photo booths,” which Dent says is really just a partitioned-off room within another room.

Curtains separate the “photo booth” from the room.

Dent says he was the only one in the room security-wise, but there was another bodyguard nearby. He says the venue security would help maintain the line before people got to the photo room, but once they were inside, it was him and his team.

After fans took a photo with Swift, he was there to usher them out so the next fans could come in.

“I went everywhere she went,” Dent said, calling it a “controlled environment.”

“My sole purpose was to make sure she was OK,” Dent says of Swift. He says he was off to the side and had a complete view of behind her, as sometimes people would try to sneak in, and he says he wanted to be sure nobody was able to get behind her.

He says he could see both in front of her and behind her, and could see Swift and Mueller’s backsides at the time of the photo.


8:58 a.m.

Dent stopped working for Taylor Swift in 2013, but has since worked for others in the entertainment industry.

He says he “definitely” thinks so when asked if he was a good bodyguard for Swift, and says he believes he was “the best bodyguard Swift ever had.”

He says on June 2, 2013 that Swift was accompanied by either him or another bodyguard at all times. He says he was at “all” the meet-and-greets that day—either two or three before the show and “probably” one after the show.

Dent says he “definitely” remembers the photo David Mueller took with Swift that day.


8:50 a.m.

We are back in court on Friday morning.

Gabe McFarland, David Mueller’s attorney, calls Greg Dent, who was Taylor Swift’s personal bodyguard in June 2013, to the stand.

McFarland has throughout the trial asked Swift and others questions about Dent's involvement with the photo booth on June 2, 2013 when Mueller allegedly groped Swift.

Dent is a former NSA officer and is trained in law enforcement. He trained at the National Police Academy before working as a police officer. Then moved to Department of Defense and worked in computer operations until 1989. 

He worked mostly outside of police and security work from 1989 to 2000 doing corporate sales. In January 2001 he started doing security work again, but says he thought he would go back to a "regular job" afterward. However, he has continued to work as a bodyguard for several "well-known" entertainers since then.


8:09 a.m.

Court is scheduled to start at 8:45 a.m. here in Denver. We’re not sure where we are starting today, but Judge Martinez said to finish the day Thursday that he would be discussing a timeline for closing arguments today.

Check back on our story wrap from Swift’s court appearance Thursday here, or read through Thursday’s live blog here.

To see courtroom sketches of the case so far, click here.