Taylor Swift wasn't backing down in court

By Mark Savage
BBC Music reporter

Image source, Reuters
Image caption, "I know exactly who did this," Swift told the court

Taylor Swift has been praised for her "sharp, gutsy and satisfying" testimony over allegations of sexual assault.

The pop star claims former radio DJ David Mueller groped her while posing for a photo at one of her concerts in 2013 - a charge which he denies.

"Just like her expertly crafted lyrics, Taylor Swift was precise, self-assured and direct," said Billboard magazine.

Speaking in court, Swift refused to back down or give ground to the DJ's lawyer.

Asked if she was critical of her bodyguard, Swift replied: "I'm critical of your client sticking his hand under my skirt and grabbing my ass".

She testified that her security team had seen Mueller "lift my skirt" but only a person on the floor "looking up my skirt" could have seen the entire act "and we didn't have anyone positioned there".

Swift also rejected the accusation that she had misidentified Mueller, saying: "I'm not going to allow you or your client to say I am to blame."

"He had a handful of my ass. It happened to me. I know it was him."

Fans and critics have praised her performance on the stand.

"Taylor Swift did not sugarcoat her testimony," said Variety Magazine's Jem Aswad, singling out the moment Mueller's lawyer, Gabriel McFarland, asked why the front of her skirt did not appear to be ruffled in the photograph.

"Because," Swift replied, "my ass is located in the back of my body."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, The alleged incident happened shortly before Taylor Swift took the stage in Denver, Colorado in 2013

Billboard's Gil Kaufmann applauded the star for refusing to let Mr McFarland sway her interpretation of the incident.

"It happened to me. I have a 3-D rendition of what happened in my brain," he quoted her as saying. "I could have picked him out of a line of 1,000. I know exactly who did this. It is not alleged. It is a fact.

"You can ask me a million questions about it and I'm never going to say anything different."

Buzzfeed's Claudia Rosenbaum, who was in the courtroom, said Swift was at times "aggravated" and "pissed off" at "being forced to relive the details of this incident".

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According to the reporter, the star bristled when she was asked why she hadn't called off the meet-and-greet following the alleged incident.

"Mueller's attorney said, 'You could have taken a break,' and Taylor Swift responded: 'And your client could have taken a normal photo with me.'"

Image source, Reuters / Jeff Kandyba
Image caption, Taylor Swift (left) has been present throughout the trial, often accompanied by her mother Andrea (second right)

Swift's testimony was "sharp, gutsy and satisfying," said Slate magazine's Christina Cauterucci.

"For young fans of Swift's, hearing a beloved artist speak candidly about the emotional damage of sexual assault and stand up to a courtroom of men trying to prove her wrong could be a formative moment for their developing ideas of gender, sex, and accountability."

Fox News reporter Michael Konopasek, meanwhile, noted that elements of Swift's testimony were "heartbreaking" but she "stayed strong throughout".

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Fans spoke out in support of the star following her hour-long appearance on the stand.

"Proud and inspired by Taylor Swift today," wrote Alex Goldschmidt. "This is what strength looks like."

"I hope Taylor Swift wins this trial/ There's no excuse for any sexual abuse. She is taking a stand for ALL WOMEN," added Marcus Kawa.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, Fans have been turning out to support Swift during the trial

"Taylor Swift has probably watched every single Law And Order episode," concluded one fan account. "She knows what she's doing. She came for blood."

Coincidentally, Swift had been asked in court whether she watched any police shows. "Yes!" she exclaimed. "I named my cat after Olivia Benson on Law and Order."

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Following Swift to the witness stand on Thursday was radio station boss Robert Call, who fired Mueller two days after the alleged incident, acting on a complaint from Swift's radio publicist.

Call said Mueller had initially denied touching Swift, but when shown the photo in question, he responded: "Well, if it did happen, it was accidental."

Call said he fired the DJ because of his shifting accounts of the incident, and because the photo showed that Mueller's hand was "not where it was supposed to be".

Mueller, 55, testified on Tuesday that he may have made innocent contact with Swift but denied any inappropriate behaviour.

Asked if he grabbed her backside, the broadcaster replied, "No, I did not."

The trial continues.

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