Our girl Taylor Swift is in the midst of a trial right now (and I’m not talking about a metaphorical one.) Former Denver radio host, Dave Mueller, filed suit against Swift in 2015. The trial started two hours late Wednesday morning while the judge and attorneys held a closed evidence hearing.
The amended complaint claims Mueller lost his job after Swift falsely accused him of grabbing her butt. But Swift would not go quietly into that good night. She clapped back with a countersuit for sexual harassment. Mueller wants $3 million in damages.
The trial kicked off with jury selection Monday and opening statements Tuesday. During opening statement, Mueller’s attorney showed a picture of the encounter between Mueller and Swift. He argued, essentially, that Mueller couldn’t have touched Swift’s butt because Swift is smiling, and her skirt isn’t “rumpled in any fashion.”
We’ll just leave that one there…
What is an evidentiary hearing anyway?
Attorneys fight over what evidence gets admitted at trial. Any evidence admitted at trial must comply with the Federal Rules of Evidence. However, there is a special rule that attorneys can use to kick evidence out when it is otherwise admissible: 403.
A common rule 403 argument is that the disputed evidence is unfairly prejudicial. When an attorney makes this argument, she is saying that, if introduced, the evidence will unfairly cause the jury to think poorly of her client.
Inadmissible evidence isn’t shown to the jury because it is inadmissible! Thus, hearings to determine the admissibility of evidence are closed, or private.
And the winner is!
I’m pretty sure Swift’s attorneys came out on top of Wednesday morning’s evidentiary hearing. Following the hearing, U.S. District Judge William Martinez ruled questions about lost audio recordings are allowed. These recordings are potentially damning to Mueller.
Judge Martinez imposed spoliation sanctions against Mueller in July for his part in the recordings destruction. His attorney probably argued that questions about the destroyed recordings would unfairly prejudice Mueller.
We may never know what the actual focus of Wednesday mornings hearing was. But can we all agree moving forward that, when it comes to butts, it’s better to look and not touch??