A former radio DJ has insisted in court that he did not grope Taylor Swift.

David Mueller has been accused of sexually assaulting the superstar during a photo opportunity before a concert in 2013.

The picture of Swift, Mueller and his then-girlfriend is a key piece of evidence in the lawsuit – with lawyers for the singer claiming it is damning proof that the presenter had touched her backside.

Under questioning from his lawyer at the civil trial, Mueller said he may have accidentally touched Swift’s ribs with a closed hand during an encounter that lasted no more than 40 seconds.

Mueller explained that he and the singer-songwriter were trying to reach around one another, and our hands touched and our arms touched.

The country and western DJ is suing Swift for at least $3m (£2.3m) in order to clear his name and recover lost earnings.

He was fired from his $150,000-a-year dream job at country station KYGO-FM after Swift’s team reported the alleged assault to his boss.

Swift is counter-suing Mueller for a symbolic $1 (77p) in compensation, and she says she wants to serve as an example to other women who have been assaulted.

Taylor Swift’s mother, Andrea, cried as she listened to opening statements in the Denver courtroom.

According to her lawyer, Swift is absolutely certain she was sexually assaulted – and he asked why the singer would ever make up such a claim.

Swift has said Mueller slipped his hand under her dress and grabbed her bare bottom as they posed. She was 23 at the time of the alleged assault.

Her lawyer also says Mr Mueller has changed his account of the incident seven times, and destroyed evidence relating to the assault.

Mueller’s lawyer showed the eight jurors the photograph which was taken at the time of the alleged assault.

Everyone in the picture is smiling, and Mueller’s right hand is hidden behind Swift.

He said the photo shows his client’s hand is not underneath Miss Swift’s skirt, and her skirt is not rumpled in any fashion.

The trial is expected to last for 10 days.

About 25 members of the public were in court to witness the hearing – with three teenage girls showing up at the courthouse before dawn to secure a spot inside.

It’s better than a concert, a 17-year-old girl said.

(c) Sky News 2017: DJ David Mueller takes stand in court to deny assaulting Taylor Swift