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A US judge has dismissed a 2018 Nevada lawsuit accusing Cristiano Ronaldo of rape in 2009 and requesting the Portuguese soccer star pay the alleged victim $25 million damages after she agreed to accept $375,000 in hush at the time of the alleged assault, according to court documents .
Judge Jennifer Dorsey dismissed the suit with prejudice.
The suit relied on a series of articles called the Football Leaks, which cites leaked documents that contain confidential information from Ronaldo’s legal team.
“The article made it clear that its source documents included confidential, internal communications between Ronaldo’s American and European attorneys that were stolen from their databases despite safeguards meant to protect confidential client information,” Dorsey’s 42-page order states.
The plaintiff’s attorney, Leslie Stovall, sought those hacked documents, which Dorsey said “are emblazoned with notices that their contents contain attorney-client communications and attorney work product,” and claimed Stovall “failed to inform opposing counsel that he was in possession of such documents despite knowing their obvious privileged nature.”
The judge further stated that the plaintiff, Kathryn Mayorga — a former model and teacher in Las Vegas — relied on the documents to recount her version of events from the night of the alleged assault that occurred in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009, when she was 24 and he was 25.
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Mayorga alleges that after meeting Ronaldo, he invited her to his hotel room and offered her something to wear in his hot tub. She further alleges that while she was changing in her room, he pulled her onto his bed and raped her despite her repeated claims to her stop. Ronaldo’s legal team does not deny that the pair engaged in a sexual relationship but insists that it was consensual.
The plaintiff reported the incident to the Las Vegan Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) at the time, but no charges were filed after Mayorga neither identified her alleged attacker by name nor said where the incident took place when she reported the incident, police and prosecutors said .
The LVMPD reopened the case years later and “issued a warrant for Ronaldo’s arrest, but in July 2019, the Clark County District Attorney’s Office announced that it would not pursue criminal charges,” court documents state.
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Stovall legal documents argued that Ronaldo’s legal team failed to safeguard the documents that were eventually leaked and that the plaintiff’s team “were not the ones to misappropriate the.”
Dorsey, however, said the Football Leaks are “textbook examples of materials that fall squarely in the heartland of Nevada’s attorney-client privilege and the federal work-product doctrine,” adding that the plaintiff’s “technical arguments do not change the plainly privileged nature of these documents.”
After years of back-and-forth between the two legal teams over the hacked materials, Dorsey concluded that while the “court is sensitive to the gravity of case-terminating sanctions,” because of Stovall’s “abuses and flagrant circumvention of the proper litigation process , [the plaintiff] loses her opportunity to pursue this case and attempt to unwind the settlement of claims that, themselves, imply serious allegations of a highly personal nature.”
“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,” the judge wrote.
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Stovall can appeal the decision to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
Ronaldo, now 37, is one of the most highly paid and recognizable sports stars in the world. He plays for the English Premier League club Manchester United and has captained the national team of his home country, Portugal. He spent several recent years playing in Italy for the Turin-based club Juventus.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.