10:48am PT by Ashley Cullins
Taylor Swift's Expert on Types of Men Who Assault Women Rejected by Judge in Groping Lawsuit
Taylor Swift heads to trial next month against a Colorado radio DJ who she says groped her during a meet-and-greet — and she can't use the testimony of an expert on the types of men most likely to assault women.
Former KYGO radio host David Mueller sued Swift in September, claiming the star's accusations are false and got him fired. She countersued for assault and battery. U.S. District Court judge William Martinez in May cut Mueller's slander allegations, but allowed his tortious interference claim to move toward trial.
Now Martinez is trimming the testimony Swift is allowed to present. He's decided to bar Lorraine Bayard de Volo's opinion that Mueller's behavior is consistent with emotional and psychological traits associated with the types of men who harass and assault women.
Despite de Volo's education and experience in women's studies, and two decades of teaching and research on gender and violence, Martinez found her testimony would "do little, if anything" to assist the jury in understanding the case.
"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," writes Martinez. "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."
Martinez also found that any potential value of de Volo's testimony would be substantially outweighed by the risk of prejudice against Mueller.
The DJ did not challenge de Volo's testimony about why victims of harassment and assault don't typically report the event immediately, so Martinez says she is able to testify at trial on that issue. (Read the full ruling here.)
A detailed decorum order issued Thursday lays out the rules for attorneys, media and fans who will be present in the courthouse for the trial.
No electronic devices of any kind will be allowed in the courtroom, except for those belonging to the parties, their attorneys and court staff. Anyone watching the proceedings, including media, will have to remain seated during proceedings and can't leave until the court recesses. There will be 14 dedicated media seats for credentialed press, and 150 additional members of the media will be able to view proceedings from an overflow room. Only reporters in the overflow room will have access to cell phones and laptops — and there's no court-provided Wi-Fi.
Members of the public who want to attend the trial will have to line up to obtain a pass, and can arrive to do so at 6:00 a.m. each morning. No passholders will be allowed to bring electronic devices into the courthouse. Cell phones may be checked upon entry, but anyone who brings an iPad or laptop will forfeit their pass. (Read all the rules here.)
Jury selection for the trial begins on Monday, Aug. 7 and is expected to be finished by lunch on Tuesday.