It took a jury only four hours to rule in favor of Taylor Swift in the star’s case against former radio DJ David Mueller, who Swift alleges groped her in 2013.
Mueller sued first, claiming Swift’s accusations were false and cost him his job; he sought up to $3 million in damages. Swift countersued for sexual assault. Though she initially said she’d donate any financial reward from the trial to charities dedicated to sexual assault victims, Swift changed tactics and sued only for a symbolic one dollar, which she was rewarded on Tuesday.
The loss is a total one for Mueller, who saw his case against Swift thrown out before the end of the weeklong trial. His claims against Swift’s mother, Andrea, and Swift’s radio representative, Frank Bell, didn’t gain traction with the jury, which found neither individual interfered with Mueller’s contract to such an extent that they owed him compensation.
Swift released a statement after the verdict came out:
“I want to thank Judge William J. Martinez and the jury for their careful consideration, my attorneys Doug Baldridge, Danielle Foley, Jay Schaudies and Katie Wright for fighting for me and anyone who feels silenced by a sexual assault, and especially anyone who offered their support throughout this four-year ordeal and two-year long trial process.
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.”
Swift testified on Thursday. It is the rare witness whose testimony lends itself to listicles, but Swift’s defiant, clever answers did just that. When Gabe MacFarland, Mueller’s attorney, said Swift could have taken a break from her meet-and-greet if she was so distraught after Mueller’s alleged assault, Swift replied, “Your client could have taken a normal photo with me.” To MacFarland asking if Swift was critical of her bodyguard for failing to prevent Mueller from groping her, Swift said, “I’m critical of your client sticking his hand under my skirt and grabbing my ass.”
Did Swift have any feelings about Mueller losing his job? “I’m not going to let you or your client make me feel, in any way, that this is my fault. Here we are, years later, and I’m being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are the product of his decisions. Not mine.”
During closing arguments, MacFarland insisted that Swift’s expression in the photo with Mueller—she was smiling—was proof that Mueller had done nothing wrong. “Is that the face of someone who’s in shock, who is upset? There’s nothing to suggest in Ms. Swift’s face that anything inappropriate is happening.”
A fan whose office in Denver is across the street from the courthouse (Carly Chapple, who works for the crafting website Craftsy) decorated her windows with inspirational, on-theme lyrics from Swift’s songs spelled out in Post-it notes. Chapple’s first, as Buzzfeed reported, was a simple “FREE TAY.” As the trial went on, her coworkers joined in, planning a new message each day: “People throw rocks at things that shine,” “Fearless,” “I knew you were trouble!” The day the verdict was read, the message was: “Are we out of the woods?” By Monday afternoon, the window read, “Begin again.”
Buzzfeed reports that Swift’s mother, “who was crying, immediately hugged her daughter as soon as the verdict was read.”