Taylor Swift Suffers Setback in Butt-Grope Lawsuit

Singer’s expert won’t be allowed to testify that fired DJ fit the profile of someone predisposed toward sexual assault

Last Updated: July 21, 2017 @ 4:37 PM

Taylor Swift was handed a minor setback in a lawsuit brought against her by a radio DJ who allegedly groped the singer’s rear-end during a concert meet-and-greet.

In an order handed down Friday, federal judge William J. Martinez ruled that an expert witness of Swift’s would not be allowed to offer testimony on whether the DJ, David Mueller, fit the profile of a person who’s motivated to commit sexual harassment or assault.However, the witness will be allowed to testify on other matters.

Swift has enlisted Dr. Lorraine Bayard de Volo, a professor of women and gender studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Among other things, Bayard de Volo was prepared to offer testimony that Mueller fit that profile before he’d even met Swift, because “he felt his job security was threatened, his identity as a radio personality was threatened, and his masculinity was threatened.”

“This perfect storm of threats to Mr. Mueller’s perceived status is consistent with the well-settled, academically-accepted, perceived threats to status that motivate a man to commit sexual harassment or assault,” Bayard de Volo stated in a report on the case.

However, Judge Martinez granted Mueller’s motion to exclude testimony on that front in Friday’s order.

“Her opinions do not explain evidence which will be before the jury that it otherwise could not understand,” Martinez wrote in his order. “The jury will have ample direct and readily comprehensible evidence from which to resolve the central factual question of whether Plaintiff did or did not improperly touch Ms. Swift. The jury will have a much better opportunity than Dr. Bayard de Volo herself has had to draw their own conclusions of whether Plaintiff actually perceived the kinds of threats to his masculinity that her Report describes and, if so, how he responded in the event.”

Martinez also found that Bayard de Volo’s opinion “creates a very substantial risk of prejudice against Plaintiff and of confusing the issues at trial. Her opinion would be tantamount to characterizing Plaintiff as someone who had the motives and characteristics typical of a perpetrator of sexual assault.”

Bayard de Volo will be allowed to offer testimony on another aspect of her report, namely that Swift behaved in a manner “consistent with the conduct identified in professional literature and studies of someone who has been sexually assaulted.”

Mueller’s suit against Swift and others contends that he was wrongfully fired after being accused of groping the singer’s butt during a meet-and-greet at Swift’s concert at Denver’s Pepsi Arena in June 2013. The radio personality, who goes by the professional name “Jackson,” has adamantly denied the accusation, though Swift has testified, “It was not an accident. It was completely intentional, and I have never been so sure of anything in my life.”

Swift subsequently filed a countersuit against Mueller in October 2015.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.