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DENVER – Taylor Swift’s bodyguard was called to testify Friday morning in the pop star’s trial involving a former radio DJ accused of groping her before a 2013 concert in Denver, and said that it was not an “allegation” that the DJ had touched her inappropriately—“I know I saw it,” he said.
The bodyguard, Greg Dent, is a former National Security Agency and Department of Defense worker who had Top Secret-level clearances while he worked for the government. He also trained at the National Police Academy, and has worked as a professional bodyguard for high-profile celebrities for more than 15 years.
Dent described himself as “the best bodyguard [Swift] ever had,” and testified Friday the former KYGO DJ, David Mueller, stuck his hand under Swift’s skirt while they were taking a photo together at a meet-and-greet event before Swift’s June 2, 2013 concert at Denver’s Pepsi Center.
Throughout much of the trial, witnesses have been asked about why Dent didn’t act when Mueller allegedly groped Swift that day.
Dent told Mueller’s attorney, Gabe McFarland, that at the time of the photo, he was off to the side of the party, but within “two steps” of Swift. He said that he could see both their front and backsides throughout the time the photo was taken.
McFarland asked him if he “believed” he saw Mueller put his hand under Swift’s skirt.
“No, I know I saw it. I don’t believe I saw it. I know I saw it,” Dent replied. “When he went to put his arm around her, his hand went under her skirt. She jumped, pushed her skirt down, and moved closer to the girl (Melcher).”
Dent said he moved a little, and since Swift didn’t give him any indication to do anything, he stood off to the side while she continued the meet-and-greet.
He told the court he didn’t do anything because Swift had told him that sometimes he was “a little too mean.”
Dent said the inappropriate touching happened before they snapped the picture. How does he know, he was asked by McFarland. “Because I was standing right there,” he said.
He admitted that at the time of the photo that Mueller’s hand wasn’t under Swift’s skirt, but that it had been before the photo was taken, and that’s why he believes Swift jumped to the side.
“I know she would have said something if she wanted me to intervene,” Dent says. “I know she wasn’t comfortable with it. That’s why she moved, pushed her skirt down, and moved closer to the woman.”
He says Swift never signaled to him that she felt he needed to step in.
“I take my cues from her in certain situations, and she continued with the photo,” Dent said.
He says as soon as the meet-and-greet was over, she went straight to her other staffers and said what happened, and they started looking through the camera for his picture.
“We weren’t doing a police lineup. I was standing right there, I saw him. I didn’t need to look at the camera,” Dent said. “This wasn’t a police lineup, and I was standing 5 feet away from them, and I could see pretty well.”
According to Dent, two other bodyguards started looking for Mueller after Dent took Swift to her dressing room. He said he had “a hunch” that Mueller would be at the bar at the arena, and he indeed was when Dent went to look for him.
When Dent was cross-examined by Baldridge, Baldridge pointed at Mueller and asked Dent, “Did that man right there, David Mueller, put his hand under [Swift’s] skirt?”
“I’m positive that’s the man,” Dent replied.
The former Swift bodyguard also said that he had always had the opinion that Swift was “too fan-friendly”—saying she would stop and interact with fans even when she wasn’t “working.”
And he said the Swift security team made significant changes after the alleged incident with Mueller, though he stopped working for Swift later in 2013, after the alleged incident. Swift testified Thursday that her team offered him a job, which he declined.
“When guys would come up, I would tell guys to keep their hands up high,” Dent said.
“Because you experienced an assault and had to make changes, correct?” Baldridge asked him.
“Yes,” said Dent.
Mueller’s co-host and ex-girlfriend take the stand
Next to take the stand Friday morning was Ryan “Ryno” Kliesch, who was Mueller’s cohost on the KYGO morning show at the time of the incident, and a longtime friend of his.
They’d worked together in San Diego and Kansas City before eventually landing the job together at KYGO in Denver.
Kliesch was asked by Mueller’s attorney about the clause in their contract that mandated they add a third co-host, a woman. Kliesch said he and Mueller had differing opinions from their boss, Eddie Haskell, on whom to hire.
He admitted he and Mueller both had some issues with Haskell because of that.
He also recounted his own version of June 2, 2013, and how he, his wife and Haskell ended up in the VIP meet-and-greet, while Mueller and his girlfriend, Shannon Melcher, had to go to the fan version.
Kliesch said after their meet-and-greet, that “things started getting a little weird” when Haskell called him and said “something had happened” and that he should plan on doing the next day’s morning show alone.
Kliesch also said that Haskell made the “bike shorts” comment to him after the meet-and-greet, but that Kliesch didn’t report it to KYGO.
“I really just dismissed a lot of things that Eddie said because quite frankly, I didn’t believe a lot of things he said,” Kliesch said. “I didn’t say I disliked him, but it was challenging to work with him a lot of the time.”
Kliesch said he got in touch with Mueller while waiting for the light rail, and he got the story from Mueller.
He says he thought Mueller was joking. “I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
“I thought Ashton Kutcher was going to pull up behind me and say I was on some kind of candid camera show. I could not believe what was happening,” Kliesch said. “I essentially was in shock. I could not believe what happened.”
“He said he didn’t do anything. He couldn’t believe what had happened,” Kliesch said Mueller told him.
Melcher was called to the stand after that.
She met Mueller in January 2013, she said. They dated throughout that year, and ended things slowly at the end of that year.
She says there wasn’t a particular thing that ended the relationship. They “grew apart as a couple” but still remained friendly, she said.
“We had a very nice relationship. I have nice memories of our relationship,” Melcher said.
She told the court she never saw Mueller inappropriately touch another woman, nor did he do so to her.
She then went into detail about the moments surrounding the concert, the photo and Mueller’s alleged groping of Swift.
Once they entered the “photo booth” room, she said she started talking with Swift—“just chit-chatting,” and said they had a “nice conversation.”
Melcher said the photo came quickly, that she was on Swift’s right side, and that Mueller was “some distance away.” She said she didn’t see Mueller move into the picture, but “sensed it.”
She said she didn’t notice any sudden movements from Swift toward her and away from Mueller, as others in the room, including Swift herself, claim happened.
“I did not. Of course I was facing forward. I don’t have eyes in the back of my head. But I did not notice anything of that type, no,” Melcher says.
She said Mueller’s demeanor was somewhat different afterward. She said she and Mueller had a conversation about the meet-and-greet situation “feeling odd” because of the quick photo and them being in with the public.
Mueller felt like he was removed from the conversation with Swift, Melcher said, and that he mentioned it was “odd” he had to try and “dive into the photo.”
They went upstairs, and Mueller left for 15 minutes, which is when he allegedly had the conversation with Haskell about the bike shorts. She said when Mueller came back in, he relayed that conversation to her, then they went and got a drink.
“And a couple of minutes after that, the night changed,” she testified.
Someone came up to Mueller and told him come with him, she said. They put their drinks on the floor, and Melcher stayed where she was, she said.
“And that was that,” Melcher says.
The two were separated, but Melcher said she still overheard part of the conversation between Mueller and security: “It was more of an interrogation,” she testified.
She said they were asking Mueller: “Are you happy with what you’ve done?” and Mueller was saying, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
She said she tried to intervene, but was told to close her mouth.
The two were escorted out, then spent the rest of the night together, a time which she testified was “difficult.”
She said after Mueller was fired two days later, that he was “devastated” and “in shock” that he’d lost his “dream job.” She said the incident was “a topic of conversation all the time.”
But she also said that Mueller consistently maintained that he never touched Swift inappropriately.
“His story did not change.”
Upon cross-examination by Swift’s attorney, Melcher said she asked Mueller if he touched Swift inappropriately at one point, and that he replied, “How could you ask me that?” – something the attorney called “odd.”
The attorney also led Melcher into questioning her about another sexual incident.
In this case, Melcher herself was grabbed on two different occasions by a different KYGO employee in the months before the alleged Swift groping incident.
She said she didn’t report the first incident to KYGO human resources, and that she was reluctant to report the second instance, but that Mueller talked her into it.
Swift’s attorney tried to tie that reluctance back to Swift’s reluctance to report the alleged grope as well.
“You just wanted to move on, right?” the attorney asked.
“You could say that, yes,” Melcher replied.
She agreed that it was the “right thing” to report it to HR. She also agreed that Swift had the right to have her allegation investigated by KYGO HR.
The court took a lunch break at noon, and will be back for a private motion hearing at 1:15 p.m. involving only the attorneys and Judge Martinez. The jury will not be allowed in.
At that meeting, Baldridge argued that the claims in the original suit should be tossed out and that Taylor Swift be removed from the claims altogether.
Judge Martinez was deciding on that motion Friday afternoon after sending the jury home until Monday at 9:30 a.m., after which closing statements will take place.