A US district judge has dismissed a rape lawsuit against soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, castigating the legal team behind the complaint.
Judge Jennifer Dorsey threw out the case brought by Kathryn Mayorga, a former model and teacher, who alleged she was assaulted by the Portuguese soccer star in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009.
The 37-year-old Manchester United player has always denied the allegations and maintained that the relationship with Mayorga was completely consensual.
In a 42-page ruling released on Friday, the judge accused Mayorga’s attorneys of “abuses and flagrant circumvention of the proper litigation process,” and said that as a result, “Mayorga loses her opportunity to pursue this case.”
Her attorneys had actually moved to dismiss the case voluntarily last month, US media said, but Dorsey decided that their repeated use of illicitly obtained confidential documents meant the case had to be dismissed “with prejudice” — meaning it cannot be revived.
“Nothing less than a with prejudice dismissal will purge the taint that has permeated this case from its very inception and preserve the integrity of the litigation process,” Dorsey wrote.
A criminal case based on the rape allegation against the Manchester United forward was dropped in 2019, with a district attorney saying it “cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt” that a sexual assault occurred.
Mayorga, who waived her right to anonymity, also filed a civil suit seeking millions in damages.
Mayorga said that while she had agreed to a financial settlement with Ronaldo shortly after the alleged incident — reportedly for US$375,000 — her emotional trauma at the time did not allow her to participate in the mediation process.
In trying to revive the case, Mayorga’s lawyer Leslie Stovall made repeated use of “cyberhacked attorney-client privileged documents,” Dorsey said.
Those documents included “internal e-mails between Ronaldo’s lawyers discussing settlement strategies and potential liability” and were “emblazoned with notices that their contents contain attorney-client communications,” the judge wrote.
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