Taylor Swift on Friday won an important ruling in the trial from her allegation she was groped by DJ David Mueller, with the judge dismissing the DJ's rival claim accusing the singer of wrongfully getting him fired.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge William Martinez meant Swift's assault and battery countersuit agains Mueller stands. Mueller said he was falsely accused by the recording star, and lost his $150,000-a-year job at radio station KYGO-FM because of her accusations.
Swift reacted to the decision with tears of joy, embracing members of her legal team and family members with bear hugs in the courtroom.
Mueller sat alone at the plaintiff's table, appearing somber as he sipped a glass of water.
Friday's decision capped the fifth day of a trial highlighted by vivid testimony from Swift charging that Mueller clutched her bare buttocks during a pre-concert fan reception in 2013. Mueller said under oath he did no such thing.
The judge had tossed out Mueller's defamation-of-character claim against Swift before the trial, ruling the former Denver DJ had waited too long to file suit under the statute of limitations.
Earlier on Friday, Swift's former bodyguard corroborated her account of being groped by Mueller, testifying he saw the radio personality slip his hand under the singer's skirt as they posed together for a photo with Mueller's then-girlfriend.
Lawyers for both sides rested their respective cases after the ex-girlfriend, Shannon Melcher, took the stand as the final witness to deny seeing Mueller inappropriately touch Swift during the picture-taking session. But she added, "I don't have eyes in the back of my head."
After jurors were excused for the day, Swift's lawyer, J. Douglas Baldridge, asked the judge to throw out Mueller's two remaining legal claims in the trial, which were disruption of his $150,000-a-year employment contract and interference with his future earnings.
Swift has said her representatives lodged a complaint with KYGO management about the alleged groping but insisted she never demanded Mueller be fired.
Although Martinez agreed to dismiss both claims as they related to Swift, he kept the contract claim intact for Swift's two co-defendants - her mother, Andrea, and her radio station liaison Frank Bell.
The eight-member jury also will be left to decide whether Mueller is liable for assault and battery, for which Swift is seeking a symbolic $1 in damages.
Greg Dent, Swift's bodyguard and a former police officer took the stand on Friday.
"I saw his hand under her skirt. ... Her skirt went up. ... She jumped," Dent testified, adding that Swift then moved closer to Mueller's girlfriend, who was standing on Swift's other side.
"I was definitely sure that he had been drinking," Dent said of Mueller. "I don't know what level. He wasn't staggering or falling down."
The photo, repeatedly displayed in court, shows Swift flanked by Mueller and Melcher, all three smiling for the camera. Mueller has his right hand concealed behind Swift's backside, and she appears to have shifted her hip away from him.
Dent said he did not immediately intervene because he took his cues from Swift, who continued with the meet-and-greet session. When she finished meeting her fans, Dent said, Swift told her staff about the groping.
Following Dent to the stand was Mueller's longtime friend and former co-host at KYGO-FM, Ryan Kliesch. He repeatedly answered "no" when asked by McFarland if he had ever seen Mueller disrespect, demean, condescend or act inappropriately toward women.
The jury was due to return on Monday for closing arguments in the case.