A woman from Nevada lostto force international soccer star Paying millions of dollars more than the $375,000 hush money she received after she claimed he raped her in Las Vegas in 2009.
US District Judge Jennifer Dorsey in Las Vegas on Friday settled the case out of court to punish the woman’s attorney, Leslie Mark Stovall, for “conduct in bad faith” and the use of leaked and stolen documents detailing attorney-client conversations between Ronaldo and his lawyers are detailed. Dorsey said that tainted the case to the point of incurability.
Dorsey said in her 42-page order that dismissing a case without an opportunity to refile it was a severe sanction, but said Ronaldo was harmed by Stovall’s conduct.
“I believe that the obtaining and continued use of these documents was in bad faith, and simply disqualifying Stovall will not eliminate prejudice against Ronaldo as the misappropriated documents and their confidential content are woven into the fabric of[PlaintiffKathryn)Mayorgawerewovenin’theverdictsaid”Hardsanctionsaredeserved”
Stovall did not immediately respond to phone and email messages on Saturday. Text messages to Larissa Drohobyczer went unanswered. You 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 attorney Peter Christiansen said Cristiano’s legal team welcomes the decision.
“We have alleged that the lawsuit was brought in bad faith,” the statement said. “The outright dismissal of the plaintiff’s case should give renewed confidence to those pursuing this matter in the judicial process in this country, while dissuading those seeking to subvert it.”
The Associated Press does not generally name individuals who say they have been sexually assaulted, but Mayorga, through Stovall and Drohobyczer, has agreed to make her name public.
Dorsey had signaled earlier this year that she was ready to drop the case after Stovall failed to meet a procedural deadline in its bid for more than $25 million in damages based on allegations that Ronaldo or his associates violated a 2010 confidentiality agreement, by publishing reports on it appear in European publications in 2017.
Mayorga’s civil lawsuit, filed in state court in 2018 and transferred to federal court in 2019, alleged that Ronaldo or his associates breached the confidentiality agreement before German news outlet Der Spiegel published an article titled “Cristiano Ronaldo’s secret.” based on documents obtained by whistleblower portal Football Leaks.
Ronaldo’s legal team blamed reports of electronic data leaks from documents hacked and put up for sale by law firms and other entities in Europe. Christiansen also claimed that information was altered or invented.
Christiansen and attorney Kendelee Works in Las Vegas have fought successfully to prevent disclosure of the pact since the case surfaced in 2018.
Mayorga is a former model and teacher who lives in the Las Vegas area. Her lawsuit says 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 then. He was 24.
Ronaldo’s legal team does not deny that Ronaldo met Mayorga and they had sex in June 2009, but claim it was consensual and not rape.
Mayorga went to the Las Vegas Police Department at the time, but the investigation was dropped 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 most well-known sports stars in the world. He plays for English Premier League club Manchester United and was captain of the national team in his native Portugal. In recent years he has played for Turin-based club Juventus for several years in Italy.
Las Vegas police resumed 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 Las Vegas prosecutor-elect, said too much time had passed and evidence had not shown that Mayorga’s allegation could be proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.
Stovall claimed Mayorga did not break the hush money rule. Her lawsuit aimed to overturn her by accusing Ronaldo and reputation protection “fixers” of conspiracy, defamation, breach of contract, coercion and fraud. In documents filed last year, Stovall estimated the damage at $25 million plus attorneys’ fees.
The attorney argued Mayorga had learning disabilities as a child and was so pressured by Ronaldo’s attorneys and representatives that she was unable to drop her criminal complaint and accept the $375,000 payment in August 2010.
Dorsey followed the recommendations of US Judge Daniel Albregts, who handled the preliminary and procedural rulings in the case that the case should be dismissed on the grounds of bad faith, “improper conduct” by Stovall and reliance on the leaked and stolen confidential documents.
“There is no way this case can proceed unless the court can say what arguments and testimonies are based on these privileged documents,” Albregts said in an October 2021 report to Dorsey.
Stovall “acted in bad faith in requesting, receiving and using the Football Leaks documents to prosecute Mayorga’s case,” Albregts wrote. He accused Stovall of “daring,” “outrageous,” and “abusive” attempts to publicize the NDA through legal maneuvering and court filings, and recommended that Dorsey reject Stovall’s claim that Mayorga lacked the mental capacity to sign the 2010 agreement.
The 9th Circuit decided earlier this year that it would be up to Dorsey to decide that question.
In Dorsey’s ruling, it wasn’t immediately clear whether the public would still be able to view the Las Vegas police report that was prepared on Ronaldo after Mayorga filed her lawsuit in 2018.
Albregts said in March that denying the New York Times access to what police collected “would almost certainly raise the ‘specter of government censorship.'”
A protective order Dorsey imposed to prevent the declassification of the 2010 agreement does not apply to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Albregts noted, and “does not prevent LVMPD from disseminating its criminal investigation record.”
Attorney Margaret McLetchie, representing the newspaper, did not immediately respond to news of the case on Saturday.
In the USA there is help for survivors of sexual violence and their families. RAINN offers resources at 1-800-656-HOPE and on their website, www.rainn.org