DENVER (CN) — A federal judge prohibited Taylor Swift’s sexual assault expert from testifying about the possible motivations of Swift’s alleged groper, former Denver radio DJ David Mueller, saying the testimony focused more on the “why” than the “what.”
U.S. District Judge William Martinez on Friday prohibited Swift’s expert from talking about the possible motivation behind the incident.
Swift complained to KYGO radio that Mueller had groped her butt under her dress during a photo op before her 2013 performance at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Mueller then sued Swift, saying her false claim cost him his job.
Jury selection is set for Aug. 7 for the trial in which Swift will defend herself from Mueller’s claims and pursue her counterclaims for sexual assault and battery.
Martinez ruled Friday that the expert testimony might “lead the trial astray from its central purpose, that is, resolving an individual dispute between individual parties.”
Swift asked Lorraine Bayard de Volo, Ph.D., chairwoman and associate professor of Women and Gender Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, to submit testimony on sexual assault relevant to the pop star’s allegations.
Bayard de Volo’s submitted testimony claims the incident was a symptom of a perceived threat to Mueller’s manhood.
“Sexual harassment and assault are fundamentally motivated by the perpetrator’s perceived need to assert power and to protect the perpetrator’s status,” Bayard de Volo said in her testimony.
“Throughout David Mueller’s pleadings in this lawsuit and his deposition testimony, he indicated that even before he met Ms. Swift, he felt his job security was threatened, his identity as a radio personality was threatened, and his masculinity was threatened.”
Mueller’s attorney Gabriel McFarland filed a motion to exclude Bayard de Volo’s testimony in June.
“Ms. Bayard de Volo’s opinions that men who are worried about their jobs or receive threats to their masculinity are prone to committing sexual harassment or assault will not assist the trier of fact,” the motion states. “Thus, those opinions should be stricken.”
Martinez, however, permitted Bayard de Volo’s testimony regarding Swift’s profile as a victim of sexual assault, in which she states that Swift’s delay in report the assault was typical of such a victim. While Swift’s team informed Mueller’s station about the incident, Swift did not press charges against him until October 2015, after he’d filed his lawsuit in May.
But Martinez determined that the rest of Bayard de Volo’s testimony would be “beside the point.”
“The Court concludes that Dr. Bayard de Volo’s opinion would do little, if anything, to assist the jury in understanding the case and the evidence material to the central factual dispute in these proceedings,” the order states.
“Whether the jury finds, based on the testimony and other evidence, that plaintiff did improperly touch Ms. Swift, or finds that he did not, the questions of what motivated him to do so, including any perceived threats to his purported status as a powerful male, will be beside the point.
“If anything, this testimony would be unhelpful to the jury because it would tend to complicate the otherwise straightforward question of ‘what happened’ with issues of why it happened, and whether what occurred in this case was or was not consistent with alleged broader societal patterns of men reacting in physically threatening ways to powerful women who threaten their masculinity.”
Opening statements are expected on Aug. 8.