by Ken Ritter | The Associated Press
LAS VEGAS – A federal magistrate judge in Nevada has sided with Cristiano Ronaldo’s lawyers against a woman who sued for more than the $375,000 she received in 2010, after saying the international football star sided with Las Vegas I had raped her.
In a scathing recommendation to the judge hearing the case, Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregetts convicted Katherine Mayorga’s attorney, Leslie Mark Stovall, on Wednesday of inappropriately basing the civil damages lawsuit on leaked and stolen documents. What was shown as privileged communication between Ronaldo and his lawyers.
The magistrate wrote in its 23-page report to US District Judge Jennifer Dorsey, “The dismissal of Mayorga’s attorney for the improper conduct of her case is a harsh consequence.” “But, unfortunately, this is the only reasonable sanction to ensure the integrity of the judicial process.”
“Stovall has acted in bad faith to the detriment of his client – and of his profession,” Albreguets decided.
Stovall and other lawyers in his office did not immediately respond to telephone and email messages about Albregat’s report on Thursday.
A date for taking the recommendation for Dorsey was not immediately set.
Ronaldo’s attorney in Las Vegas, Peter Christiansen, issued a statement calling Ronaldo’s legal team “delighted by the court’s detailed review … and the need to appropriately apply the law to the facts and to dismiss the civil case against Mr. Ronaldo.” his wish”.
The Associated Press doesn’t usually name people it says have been victims of sexual assault, but Mayorga agreed to make their names public through Stovall and attorney Larissa Drohobeiser.
Albreguets noted that the court did not find that Ronaldo had committed a crime and that his lawyers and representatives had found no evidence of “intimidation of Mayorga or obstructing law enforcement” when Mayorga dropped the criminal charges and in August 2010. Finalized a confidential settlement of $375,000.
Ronaldo, now 36, is one of the most recognized and highly paid players in the game. He has captained his country’s football team, Portugal, and plays for English Premier League club Manchester United. He spent several years in Italy playing for club Juventus based in Turin.
Mayorga, 37, is a former teacher and model who lives in the Las Vegas area. She said in her lawsuit previously filed in state court and moved in federal court that Ronaldo or his associates violated a confidentiality agreement in 2017 by allowing reports about it to appear in European publications. She wants to collect at least $200,000 more than Ronaldo.
She met Ronaldo at a nightclub in June 2009 and accompanied him and others to his hotel room, where she said he assaulted her in a bedroom, according to the lawsuit. She was 25 years old at that time. He was 24 years old.
Ronaldo’s lawyers have acknowledged that the football star and Mayorga had sex, but said it was consensual and not rape.
Mayorga went to Las Vegas police, but the investigation was dropped at the time because Mayorga neither identified her alleged attacker nor revealed where the incident took place, Las Vegas elected prosecutor Steve Wolfson said in 2019. .
Wolfson decided not to file criminal charges in 2018 based on a new investigation by Las Vegas police because he said too much time had elapsed and evidence failed to show that Mayorga’s charge remained at trial beyond a reasonable doubt. can be proved.
Word of the financial settlement became public after German news outlet Der Spiegel published an article in 2017 titled “Cristiano Ronaldo Secret” based on documents obtained from “Whistleblower Portal Football Leaks”.
“The article clarifies that these documents contained privileged communications regarding an agreement between Ronaldo’s European and American lawyers,” Albreguets wrote.
The magistrate judge found that Stovall “acted in bad faith by soliciting, obtaining and using Football Leaks documents to prosecute Mayorga’s case.”
“Although Stovall never received – or even sought – an ethical opinion … he had many opportunities to recognize the privileged nature of the documents, beginning with a 2017 Der Spiegel article, which Quote privileged communications.”
Albregues rejected Stovall’s argument that it was appropriate to use the documents because Stovall was not the one who stole them and he could not prove that they were stolen.
The magistrate said the lawyer’s attempts to make the confidential documents public through court filings were “adventurous,” “inept” and “outrageous”.
Albreguets recommended that Dorsey also reject Stovall’s claim that because Mayorga had a childhood learning disability and was pressured by Ronaldo’s representatives, she lacked the mental ability to sign the 2010 confidentiality agreement. Was.
The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled earlier this year that it would be up to Dorsey to decide that question.
“Mayorga’s case against Ronaldo probably would not have existed if Stovall had not asked for documents on the football leaks,” Albreguets wrote, and Mayorga’s knowledge of the contents of the documents “could not be undone.”
“There is no possible way for this case to proceed where the court cannot explain what arguments and testimony are based on these privileged documents,” he said.