A US judge in Las Vegas has dismissed a rape case against soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, taking criticism of the legal team behind the complaint.
Judge Jennifer Dorsey has dismissed the case of Catherine Mayorga of Nevada, who alleged that she was assaulted by the Portuguese soccer star in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009.
In a 42-page ruling issued on Friday, the judge accused Mayorga’s lawyer of “violations and flagrant fraud of appropriate litigation procedures” and said that as a result Mayorga “misses her opportunity to pursue this case.”
US media said her lawyers in fact moved to voluntarily dismiss the case last month, but Dorsey decided that their repeated use of illegally obtained classified documents meant the case should be dismissed “with prejudice” – meaning it could not be revived.
Dorsey wrote, “Nothing less than dismissal with prejudice will clean up the impurities that have permeated this case from its inception and preserve the integrity of the litigation process.”
Mayorga filed a complaint in September last year alleging that she was sexually assaulted by Ronaldo, who has vehemently denied the accusations.
Mayorga said she agreed to a financial settlement with Ronaldo shortly after the alleged incident – reportedly – for $375,000 – the emotional shock at the time did not allow her to participate in the mediation process.
But in an effort to revive the case, Dorsey found that Mayorga’s attorney, Leslie Stovall, had repeatedly used “lawyer-client privilege documents that had been hacked online.”
The judge ruled that the use of the documents was “bad faith,” and “Stovall’s exclusion simply will not remedy the unfairness of Ronaldo, because the embezzled documents and their secret contents have been woven into the fabric of Mayorga’s allegations.”
Ronaldo is one of the biggest football stars in the world and has five times won the Ballon d’Or for the best player in the world.
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