The federal civil case alleging that Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo raped a woman in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009 was dismissed on Friday.
Judge Jennifer Dorsey accepted the recommendation of a federal magistrate, saying that an attorney for accuser Kathryn Mayorga engaged in misconduct so severe that it would be impossible for Ronaldo to have a fair trial.
“Because of her attorney’s abuses and flagrant circumvention of the proper litigation process, 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,” Dorsey wrote.
The case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning Mayorga cannot refile the complaint.
Mayorga said she was coerced into signing a nondisclosure agreement and $375,000 settlement following the alleged rape, which Ronaldo has maintained was a consensual sexual encounter. Mayorga had asked the judge to void that agreement.
The existence of the settlement was first reported by the German newspaper Der Spiegel in 2017 using leaked confidential communications from Ronaldo’s attorneys.
The court found that one of Mayorga’s attorneys, Leslie Stovall, reached out to the source of that leak to request those documents, including “the reporting and communications of the attorneys and investigators representing and defending Ronaldo following the sexual assault thru the negotiations and conclusion of the settlement and non-disclosure agreement.”
“Stovall’s repeated use of stolen, privileged documents to prosecute this case has every indicia of bad-faith conduct,” Judge Dorsey wrote Friday.
The judge found that “the misappropriated documents and their confidential contents have been woven into the very fabric of Mayorga’s claims,” stating that simply striking the leaked documents from the case and disqualifying Stovall would not adequately address the misconduct.
CNN has reached out to Stovall for comment on the decision.
Ronaldo’s attorney, Peter Christiansen, said in an email to CNN Saturday, “Since the Plaintiff first filed suit in 2018, we have maintained the action was brought in bad faith. The outright dismissal of Plaintiff’s case should give all who follow this matter renewed confidence in the judicial process in this country while dissuading those who seek to undermine it.”
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department reopened a criminal investigation at Mayorga’s request in August 2018. In July 2019, the Clark County District Attorney’s Office announced they would not pursue criminal charges, saying the allegations could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.