After six days in court, a verdict has been reached in the Taylor Swift groping trial. After deliberating for several hours, a jury in a Denver courtroom ruled that former radio host David Mueller assaulted and battered Swift at a meet-and-greet photo session at the Pepsi Center in June 2013.
Swift is being awarded $1. Her mother Andrea and a member of her management team, Frank Bell, did not intentionally interfere with Mueller’s KYGO contract, the jury ruled.
After the verdict was read, Swift hugged her attorneys and her teary-eyed mother before mouthing the words “thank you” to the jury. Mueller and his team remained expressionless.
“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,” Swift said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
“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.”
Baldridge also gave a brief statement on the steps of the courthouse. “I think it’s a new day, because someone with the guts and the courage to stand up with absolutely no upside in doing so—that being Taylor Swift—has told everyone, ‘This is it, the line’s drawn.'”
The verdict came after an emotional day for Swift, who watched as Mueller’s lawyer, Gabe McFarland, argued before an eight-person jury that her allegations of assault destroyed his client’s career. When McFarland claimed that Mueller “is not the guy” who grabbed Swift’s backside, the 27-year-old star shook her head and mouthed the word, “Wow.”
She became even more emotional when McFarland turned his attention to the photo taken during the alleged incident, which has become something of a smoking gun in this case.
“Is that the face of someone who’s had someone grab their butt? Who is shocked?” he asked the jury. “There’s nothing in Taylor Swift’s face to suggest anything is wrong.” Meanwhile, Swift herself turned away from the public gallery towards her mother and dabbed tears from her eyes.
Swift regained her composure and leaned back in her chair as she listened to her attorney, Douglas Baldridge, deliver his statement, recalling Swift’s Aug. 10 testimony during which she said: “I am not going to allow you or your client to make me feel like this is my fault, because it isn’t.”
“To use Andrea Swift’s words, I don’t know whether to ‘vomit or cry’ when I see a member of the bar subscribe to that re-victimization,” continued Baldridge.
Swift’s lawyer also called Mueller’s case a “game of chicken” where “victims are prone to blink rather than relive the shame and humiliation of what took place.” He also noted the token $1 Swift is seeking in damages, “the single value of which is immeasurable to all women in this situation.”
“It means no means no, and it tells every woman that they will determine what is tolerable to their body,” he added.
It was a trial filled with passionate rhetoric, often by Swift herself. The 27-year-old took the stand on Thursday, testifying for about an hour against Mueller.
“It was a definite grab, very long grab,” Swift said in court. “It was long enough for me to be completely sure it was intentional.”
Afterwards, “a light switched off in my personality,” Swift said, and added that she “just looked at the floor. I couldn’t look at either of them , and I just said in monotone, ‘Thanks for coming.’”
When Swift was asked about how she reacted upon learning about Mueller’s termination, she said, “I didn’t have a reaction to a strange person I didn’t know losing his job…that was a product of his decisions, not mine.”
She continued: “I don’t know anything about Mr. Mueller. I don’t know him. I think what he did was despicable, horrifying, shocking, but I don’t know him at all.”
Swift’s mother Andrea also provided powerful testimony when she took the stand Wednesday, detailing how she “wanted to vomit and cry” after her daughter told her about the alleged groping.
“I knew there was something horribly wrong in that picture,” Andrea said of the photo with Mueller. “I know those eyes better than anybody. She was pulling away. She has that smile frozen on her face, but there’s something going on in her eyes. I just looked at it and I was sickened.”
Swift, was “really shaken, she was humiliated, she was horribly embarrassed because he grabbed her bare ass,” Andrea testified.
During opening statements last Tuesday, Baldridge told the jury panel that the singer is “taking a stand for all women” and that “this is a case of sexual assault in the workplace.”
“A woman is assaulted. She reports it and she gets sued … it doesn’t make sense,” added Swift’s lawyer. “She’s trying to tell people out there that you can say no when someone grabs you no matter who they are.”
The trial took place over the course of six days, but that was just the final battle in a legal war that stretches back over two years. Mueller first sued Swift in 2015, claiming he lost his job after the singer’s security team accused him of groping her butt during a meet-and-greet at the Pepsi Center in June of 2013.
Mueller denied the allegations and also accused his colleague of sexually assaulting the singer, but a rep for Swift told PEOPLE at the time that “the radio station was given evidence immediately after the incident” and “made their independent decision.”
One month later, the “Out of the Woods” singer countersued Mueller, saying in court papers he “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.”
Swift scored an early victory on Friday, when Judge William J. Martinez dismissed Mueller’s case that the pop star got him fired, citing insufficient evidence. However, his case against Swift’s mother, Andrea, was not dismissed and Swift’s case against Mueller for sexual assault remains ongoing.
In his ruling, the judge said Mueller had filed claims of interference with contract against Swift personally rather than 13 Management, the company under which Andrea Swift and Frank Bell — who works with her management team — are employed. “Simply put, it is far too late for the plaintiff to argue that he had filed the wrong claims against the wrong people,” he said.