Taylor Swift scored a victory this week in her legal battle against a Denver DJ when a federal judge in the case sanctioned David “Jackson” Mueller for allegedly destroying multiple electronic devices believed to contain key evidence in the case. According to the Denver Post, U.S. District Judge William Martinez ruled on Wednesday (July 19) that Swift’s attorneys will be able to question Mueller about a two-hour audio recording he secretly taped during an interview with his boss the day before he was fired.
Mueller sued Swift in September 2015 over claims that the singer “falsely” accused him of lifting her skirt and groping her before a June 2013 concert in Denver. Swift countersued in October 2015 for assault and battery, claiming that Mueller waited “unreasonably” long to file his action, adding that “Mueller did not merely brush his hand against Mr. Swift while posing for the photograph: he lifted her skirt and groped her.”
According to the Post, the recording of Mueller’s talk with his boss was lost when Mueller threw away or destroyed four electronic devices. Martinez said the recording is a critical piece of evidence because Mueller’s boss at KYGO, Robert Call, claims that the DJ changed his story when confronted with Swift’s claim that he assaulted her. That incident was one of the deciding factors Call cited for firing Mueller on June 4, 2013.
“Call explained that one reason for Plaintiff’s termination was because Call perceived Plaintiff had ‘changed his story that it couldn’t have occurred, then that it was incidental,'” Martinez wrote in his decision. The judge said he could have imposed even harsher sanctions against Mueller — including striking some of the evidence — if he concluded that the DJ intentionally destroyed the devices or couldn’t locate them.
In court papers obtained by the Post, Mueller admits to destroying a laptop, cell phone, iPad and computer, acknowledging that the recording would have been an important piece of evidence in the case. Among the reasons Mueller gave for his actions was saying that his laptop got “fried” after he spilled coffee on its keyboard. Martinez nodded to Mueller’s “serial nature of (his) loss of electronic devices,” but decided that the radio host didn’t get rid of them in “bad faith.”