US judge dismisses Vegas rape lawsuit against Cristiano Ronaldo

US judge dismisses Vegas rape lawsuit against Cristiano Ronaldo

US judge dismisses Vegas rape lawsuit against Cristiano Ronaldo

A Nevada woman has lost her bid in a US court to force international soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo to pay millions of dollars more than the $375,000 in hush money she received after she claimed he raped her in Las Vegas in 2009.

U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey in Las Vegas kicked the case out of court on Friday to punish the woman’s attorney Leslie Mark Stovall for “distrust” and using leaked and stolen documents detailing attorney-client conversations between Ronaldo and his wife. lawyers. Dorsey said this tarnishes the case beyond repair.

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File photo of Cristiano Ronaldo

David Ramos/Getty Images


Dorsey said in her 42-page order that it is a serious sanction to dismiss a case without the opportunity to resubmit it, but said Ronaldo had been harmed by Stovall’s behaviour.

“I believe that the acquisition and continued use of these documents was made in bad faith, and simply disqualifying Stovall will not dispel Ronaldo’s prejudice, as the misappropriated documents and their confidential contents are woven into the fabric of (plaintiff Kathryn) Mayorga’s claims,” ​​the statement read. “Hard sanctions are justified.”

Stovall did not immediately respond to phone and email messages on Saturday. Texts to Larissa Drohobyczer went unanswered. They could appeal the decision to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

In a statement referring to Mayorga only as a “plaintiff,” Ronaldo’s Las Vegas lawyer Peter Christiansen said Cristiano’s legal team welcomed the decision.

“We have maintained that the action was initiated in bad faith,” the statement said. “The outright dismissal of the plaintiff’s case should give all those following this case renewed confidence in the justice system in this country while also discouraging those who want to undermine this case.”

The Associated Press generally does not name people who claim to have been victims of sexual assault, but Mayorga has authorized her name to be made public through Stovall and Drohobyczer.

Dorsey had indicated earlier this year that she was ready to end the case after Stovall failed to meet a procedural deadline in its bid for more than $25 million in damages over allegations that Ronaldo or his associates had a 2010 confidentiality agreement. violated by making reports about it appearing in European publications in 2017.

Mayorga’s civil lawsuit — filed in 2018 in state court and moved to federal court in 2019 — alleged that Ronaldo or his associates had breached the confidentiality agreement before German news channel Der Spiegel published an article titled “Cristiano Ronaldo’s Secret” based on from documents obtained from “Football Leaks whistleblower portal.”

Ronaldo’s legal team blames the reports on electronic data breaches of documents hacked by law firms and other entities in Europe and put up for sale. Christiansen also claimed that information had been altered or made up.

Christiansen and attorney Kendelee Works in Las Vegas have fought successfully since the case in 2018 to prevent the pact from being made public.

Mayorga is a former model and teacher who lives in the Las Vegas area. Her lawsuit said she met Ronaldo at a nightclub and went with him and other people to his hotel suite, where she claimed he assaulted her in a bedroom. She was 25 at the time. He was 24.

Ronaldo’s legal team does not dispute that Ronaldo met Mayorga and that they had sex in June 2009, but insisted it was consensual and not rape.

Mayorga went to the Las Vegas Police Department at the time, but the investigation was halted because Mayorga did not identify her alleged attacker by name or say where the incident took place, police and prosecutors said.

Ronaldo, now 37, is one of the highest paid and recognizable sports stars in the world. He plays for English Premier League club Manchester United and captained the national team of his home country Portugal. In recent years he played a number of years in Italy for Turin-based club Juventus.

Las Vegas police reopened their rape investigation after Mayorga’s lawsuit was filed, but Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson decided in 2019 not to press charges.

Wolfson, the elected prosecutor in Las Vegas, said too much time had passed and the evidence failed to show that Mayorga’s charge could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt before a jury.

Stovall claimed Mayorga had not broken the hush money arrangement. Her lawsuit sought to quash it, accusing Ronaldo and reputation-protecting “fixers” of conspiracy, defamation, breach of contract, coercion and fraud. In documents filed last year, Stovall noted $25 million in damages plus attorney’s fees.

The lawyer argued that Mayorga had learning disabilities as a child and was so pressured by Ronaldo’s lawyers and representatives that she was unable to drop her charges and accept the $375,000 in August 2010.

Dorsey followed the recommendations of US Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts, who covered preliminary and procedural rulings in the case, that the case be dismissed for bad faith, “improper conduct” by Stovall and reliance on the leaked and stolen confidential documents. .

“There is no way for this case to move forward if the court cannot say what arguments and testimony are based on these privileged documents,” Albregts said in an October 2021 report to Dorsey.

Stovall “acted in bad faith by soliciting, receiving and using the Football Leaks documents to prosecute Mayorga’s case,” Albregts wrote. He accused Stovall of “daring”, “unabashed” and “abusive” attempts to make the confidentiality agreement public through legal maneuvers and the court records and advised Dorsey to substantiate Stovall’s claim that Mayorga did not have the mental capacity to sign the 2010 agreement. to sign, to reject.

The 9th Circuit ruled early this year that it would be up to Dorsey to answer that question.

It wasn’t immediately clear in Dorsey’s statement whether the public would still be able to peek into the Las Vegas police report prepared on Ronaldo after Mayorga filed her 2018 lawsuit.

Albregts said in March that denying the New York Times access to what police collected “would almost certainly increase the ‘ghost of government censorship'”.

A protective order issued by Dorsey to prevent the release of the 2010 agreement does not apply to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Albregts said, and “does not prevent LVMPD from distributing its criminal investigation file.”

Lawyer Margaret McLetchie, on behalf of the newspaper, did not immediately respond to a report about that case on Saturday.

In the US, help is available for survivors of sexual violence and their families. RAINN provides resources at 1-800-656-HOPE and on their website, www.rainn.org