A lawsuit brought against Cristiano Ronaldo by Kathryn Mayorga, who accused the Manchester United star of sexually assaulting her in 2009, has been dismissed by a U.S. District Court judge in Las Vegas.
Judge Jennifer Dorsey ruled that Mayorga’s suit was based on “purloined” confidential documents obtained by her attorney, which “tainted” her case. The documents surfaced through Football Leaks, a soccer version of WikiLeaks that disclosed confidential information and documents.
Dorsey said that Mayorga’s lawyer, Leslie Mark Stovall, engaged in “bad-faith conduct,” highlighting that Stovall “deliberately sought out his adversary’s hacked, internal, privileged communications” and then “used them to fashion the very basis of Mayorga’s claims.”
Although Dorsey dismissed the case with no option to file another suit in the future, Mayorga has the option to appeal Dorsey’s decision to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to The Associated Press.
Why the judge dismissed Ronaldo rape case
Stovall, Mayorga’s attorney, obtained documents related to the sexual assault case from Football Leaks. Dorsey ruled that those documents were confidential and privileged and therefore inadmissible as evidence.
“Stovall’s repeated use of stolen, privileged documents to prosecute this case has every indication of bad-faith conduct,” the judge added. “And because the record shows that he and Mayorga have extensively reviewed these documents and used them to fashion the very basis of Mayorga’s claims, simply disqualifying Stovall will not purge the prejudice from their misuse.
“Stovall deliberately sought out his adversary’s hacked, internal, privileged communications. Once he received them, he didn’t seek ethical guidance on how to handle these clearly sensitive documents.
“Instead, he gave them to his client, ensuring that they would contaminate her memory and perception of events, and he built her complaint on their contents, as evidenced by plaintiff’s sworn verification.
“With that adulterated die cast, he then sat on the documents for fourteen months, nine of which he was actively litigating this case.”
According to the judge’s written verdict, “Mayorga loses her opportunity to pursue this case and attempt to unwind the settlement of claims that, themselves, implicate serious allegations of a highly personal nature.
“But in light of the depth and breadth with which the ill-gotten information has saturated her claims and other filings — and likely her memory and perceptions of key facts — any other sanction would be an inadequate remedy.
“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.”
Mayorga claimed that Ronaldo raped her in Las Vegas in June 2009, an accusation that Ronaldo has denied. He has maintained that they had consensual sex.
According to The Associated Press, which cited police and prosecutors, Mayorga went to Las Vegas police at the time, but the investigation was dropped “because Mayorga neither identified her alleged attacker by name nor said where the incident took place.” Mayorga later claimed that she was discouraged from disclosing details, but the lack of information prevented local police from conducting a more in-depth investigation at the time.
In August 2010, Mayorga agreed to receive a $375,000 settlement from Ronaldo in exchange for not discussing the case publicly.
In September 2018, in the midst of the MeToo movement, Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit in state court that contained claims of battery and emotional distress, among other allegations.
As part of the civil case, she needed to prove the non-disclosure agreement no longer applied. In addition to claiming she did not have the capacity to agree to it at the time, the lawsuit also claimed a violation of the confidentiality agreement by Ronaldo’s camp after published reports about the case surfaced in Europe. Ronaldo’s lawyers attributed those reports to leaks, hacks and fabricated information.
Mayorga’s civil lawsuit began in state court and was later moved to federal court. Here is how Stovall, her attorney, addressed the media in 2018:
After the suit was filed, German outlet Der Spiegel published an in-depth article on the case based on confidential documents from Football Leaks.
Mayorga’s lawsuit, in which she sought $25 million in damages, led to Las Vegas police reopening their investigation.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson decided in 2019 not to pursue criminal charges against Ronaldo based on available evidence and the time that had elapsed. The inability of police to collect more evidence in 2009 due to the lack of information received would prove a contributing factor.
Three years after Wolfson decided not to initiate criminal proceedings, Mayorga’s lawsuit was dismissed in federal court, with the judge providing no opportunity to bring forth the case again.