On Thursday, US time, Taylor Swift took the stand in a civil trial in Denver. Fronting the federal court jury, the pop star recalled the moment from 2013 in which she claims she was “violated” by radio DJ David Mueller in a way she had “never dealt with before”.
It was “despicable”, she said, and “very shocking”.
The testimony, which was described by present US media as “assertive”, “sharp” and “gutsy”, was the crescendo in a highly reported legal battle between Swift and Mueller, one in which each has sued the other – Mueller seeking millions and Swift to make an example.
Here’s how it all played out:
What are Taylor Swift’s allegations?
The 27-year-old alleges that Mueller, then 51, reached under her skirt and “grabbed” her on the backside while posing for a photograph with her during a backstage meet-and-greet at Denver’s Pepsi Center in June 2013.
According to BuzzFeed News, the pop star reported the incident to her manager and security team that evening, who removed Mueller from the venue and banned him from her concerts for life.
But her team didn’t stop there; they then reported Mueller’s alleged behaviour to his employer, KYGO.
How did it end up in court?
Mueller was subsequently sacked by the station, who reportedly cited a morality clause in his contract after executives determined he had lied about the incident and changed his story during an internal investigation.
The DJ denied any wrongdoing – he has claimed to have only touched her “rib cage”, according to Slate. And so, in 2015 he filed a civil lawsuit, and the legal battle officially began.
It wasn’t just Swift he was aiming for either. Mueller also filed against her mother, Andrea, and her radio promotions director Frank Bell, claiming they all played a role in damaging his reputation and costing him his US$150,000-year job.
What was Taylor Swift's response?
Well, she sued him right back.
While Mueller is reportedly seeking US$3 million in damages, Swift is after US$1 via her sexual assault counter-suit. As in 100 cents.
The suit instead aims to serve "as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts.”
What has happened in court so far?
Mueller took the stand on Tuesday, and testified that any allegations he touched Swift's backside are an "absolute lie": “It’s a humiliating experience to be accused of something so despicable,” he said, according to BuzzFeed News.
His testimony was followed on Wednesday by that of Andrea Swift, who told the court that the incident left her feeling "very upset".
“I was upset to the point where I wanted to vomit and cry at the same time," she said, according to BuzzFeed News.
She explained to the jury that her family hadn’t gone to the police after the alleged assault because they didn’t want to cause a public uproar, or for the incident to "define her life", the outlet reported. "I did not want every interview from this point on to have to talk about it... I did not want her to go through the endless memes and trolls and make her relive that awful moment.”
(Post continues below). Taylor Swift had the best response to sexual harassment and it gives us hope.
On Thursday, Swift was given the chance to take the stand, to speak for herself.
During questioning, Mueller's lawyer, M. Gabriel McFarland, asked if she was critical of her bodyguard for not stepping in to stop the alleged assault.
"No, I am critical of your client for sticking his hand under my skirt and grabbing my bare ass," she said.
McFarland also suggested that Swift could have taken a break after the alleged grope.
"And your client could have taken a normal photo with me," she responded. "I'm not going to allow you or your client to make me feel in anyway that this is my fault because it isn't."
The trial is expected to last two weeks.
If you need advice or support on dealing with sexual assault, 24-hour help is available via 1800 Respect (1800 737 732).