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Taylor Swift in court for jury selection in groping case

Taylor Swift has attended a court in Colorado for jury selection in her lawsuit against an ex-radio host accused of groping the pop superstar before a concert.

The potential jurors were asked if they had ever been inappropriately touched or wrongly accused of groping someone.

A 15-page questionnaire released during jury selection in the duelling lawsuits also asked candidates if they had seen any pictures related to the case - a possible reference to a photo that shows DJ David Mueller with his right hand behind Swift, just below her waist, before a 2013 concert in Denver.

The photo was obtained by TMZ then sealed by a judge earlier in the case.

Swift claims Mueller grabbed her on the buttock during a meet-and-greet photo session at the show.

Her lawyers have called the photo "damning" proof that Mueller groped her.

Mueller, who also attended jury selection, denies the allegation and says the photo only shows him trying to jump into the frame.

Swift and Mueller are both smiling in the picture but were not even looking at each other at the Denver court on Monday.

Mueller, wearing a dark suit, sat at the plaintiff's table with his back turned to Swift, who sat at a nearby table with her mother Andrea and their lawyers.

Mueller often appeared to be reading documents while Swift watched the proceedings closely, occasionally conferring with her counsel.

In his lawsuit, Mueller claims he was sacked from his job at a country music station after Swift's team wrongfully told his boss that he had groped her. He is seeking at least three million dollars (£2.3m) in damages.

Swift's countersuit against Mueller claims sexual assault.

Swift appeared in court in a white dress and black jacket, even though she and Mueller were not required to attend until the actual trial begins.

Potential jurors were asked whether they are fans of either Mueller or Swift, including if they had ever seen Swift in concert, downloaded or purchased her music, or attended the 2013 concert.

The jury questionnaire also said anyone who is uncomfortable with discussing any instances of inappropriate touching could speak to the judge in private.

Jury selection will resume on Tuesday, with the eight-member panel chosen from a pool of 60 candidates.

One juror was dismissed over his answer to the question: "In a lawsuit between David Mueller and Taylor Swift would you have bias for or against either Taylor Swift or David Mueller?"

The potential juror answered, "She seems petty and spiteful."

Another was removed for purportedly pre-judging the case based on the photo at the centre of the dispute.

The case is being heard in federal court because Swift and Mueller live in different states - Swift in Nashville, Tennessee, Mueller in Colorado - and damages at stake exceed 75,000 dollars.

The trial is expected to last about two weeks.

Court documents say it is unlikely that either side will settle.

Swift is seeking a verdict that awards her one dollar, while holding Mueller responsible and "serving as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts", her lawsuit says.

Swift and Mueller are both expected to give evidence, along with Mueller's former boss and members of Swift's entourage.

Mueller, then 51, was a morning host at a country music station when he was assigned to attend Swift's concert at the Pepsi Centre in Denver.

Mueller was backstage with his girlfriend when they met Swift, then 23, in a curtained enclosure. They posed for a photo and left.

Later, Swift's bodyguard confronted Mueller with the allegation that the DJ had reached under the singer's dress and grabbed her.

Mueller denied the allegation and says he asked that they call the police.

He and his girlfriend were escorted out of the arena and a member of Swift's team called his boss.

Swift never went to the police.

She tried to keep the situation "discreet and quiet and confidential" and was upset by Mueller's claim that "for some reason she might have some incentive to actually fabricate this story", her lawyer, Douglas Baldridge, has argued in court.

Mueller's lawyer, Gabriel McFarland, argues that Mueller may have been misidentified after someone else touched Swift.

In addition to Swift, Mueller named her mother and a member of her team as defendants in the lawsuit.

AP

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