Judge Throws Out Slander Claims from DJ Who Allegedly Groped Taylor Swift During Meet and Greet
A judge threw out slander claims from David Mueller -- who allegedly groped Swift in 2013 -- on Tuesday
The DJ who allegedly groped Taylor Swift during a 2013 meet and greet and later sued her for costing him his job had a legal setback Wednesday when a judge threw out his claims that the superstar slandered him during their ongoing court battle.
PEOPLE confirms via court documents that a summary judgement was granted against David Mueller and in favor of Swift, her mother Andrea and Frank Bell (from Swift’s management team) “as to Plaintiff’s claims for slander per se and slander per quod.” Other aspects of Mueller’s suit — including intentional interference with contract and tortious interference with prospective business relations — will move forward.
On Thursday, Swift’s legal team filed paperwork claiming Mueller destroyed and lost “critical evidence” constituting “sanctionable spoliation.”
According to the motion (obtained by PEOPLE), Mueller “surreptitiously recorded the entire two hours of his June 3, 2013 meeting with KYGO personnel, which was conducted as part of KYGO’s independent investigation into Plaintiff’s groping of Ms. Swift during a pre-concert meet and greet” but “conveniently preserved a few short, handpicked excerpts.”
Swift’s legal team claims in the motion Mueller destroyed the evidence on multiple devices — including two laptops, an iPad, a cell phone and a hard drive — “after Mueller was contemplating litigation.”
“The destruction of critical evidence … rises to the level of bad faith and in adverse inference instruction to the jury at trial that the entirety of the audio recording would have been unfavorable to Mueller is warranted,” states the motion.
Last February, Mueller filed an amended complaint that added two slander claims to his original suit, in which he claimed Swift’s statements stating he sexually assaulted her are false and have harmed his reputation.
Mueller originally lost his job as a radio host at KYGO in 2013 but didn’t sue the singer until September 2015. One month later, Swift, 27, filed a counter suit against Mueller, stating in legal docs she “will serve as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts.”
In her suit, Swift alleged Mueller and his girlfriend were participating in her meet-and-greet when the host “intentionally reached under her skirt, and groped with his hand an intimate part of her body in an inappropriate manner, against her will, and without her permission.” She stated she informed her photographer, tour manager and security team about the incident; Mueller later admitted Swift had been groped but blamed his “superior,” Eddie Haskell.
“Ms. Swift knows exactly who committed the assault — it was Mueller — and she is not confused in the slightest about whether her long-term business acquaintance, Mr. Haskell, was the culprit,” stated Swift’s countersuit.
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In the latest summary judgement, the judge states “there would appear to be nothing improper about Swift — or any other person — making an honest report to an entity with which she does business that one of its employees assaulted or harassed her.”
Additionally, the judge also noted that Mueller lost important evidence regarding the case. “The Court is dismayed to learn that contemporaneously-created evidence regarding the central disputed events in this case was lost in entirely preventable circumstances,” states a footnote. “This is especially troubling because it appears that Mueller was already consulting with his lawyer about possible legal action at the time the audio files were edited and lost … but it is more troubling that counsel failed to assure this evidence was preserved.”
A trial date for Swift’s countersuit has been set for early August. In her filing, the star stated she will be donating any money she wins from the suit to “charitable organization dedicated to protecting women from similar acts of sexual assault and personal disregard.”