The attorney for a Las Vegas woman in a dismissed rape claim against Cristiano Ronaldo has been ordered to pay the soccer superstar $334,637.50 in legal fees.
Leslie Stovall represented Kathryn Mayorga in the case. Mayorga, who waived her right to anonymity, claimed she was raped by the Portuguese national in his penthouse at the Palms Casino Resort in 2009.
But her complaint was dismissed in June last year after US District Judge Jennifer Dorsey determined Stovall had based the case on leaked, stolen records.
These were confidential and privileged conversations between Ronaldo and his lawyer that should not have been admitted as prosecution evidence, Dorsey wrote.
By relying on the documents, Stovall acted in bad faith, which “harmed Ronaldo” and “lost Mayorga her opportunity to pursue the case,” Dorsey added.
Lawyer Personally Liable
Following the dismissal, Ronaldo’s lawyer, Peter Christiansen asked Dorsey to make Stovall personally liable for the $626,000 the soccer player spent defending the lawsuit.
In documents filed to the US District Court for the District of Nevada last week, the judge granted the motion in principle. But she only awarded a little more than half of the requested amount because she said Ronaldo and his legal team could have shut the case down earlier.
Even at that early stage of the litigation, it was clear from a brief comparison of Mayorga’s complaint and the leaked documents that her allegations were rooted in the purloined materials,” she wrote. “But Ronaldo did not then seek case-terminating sanctions or to disqualify Stovall.
“He proceeded with discovery and waited more than a year to move to dismiss,” she added. “So Ronaldo shares at least part of the blame for this case dragging on for as long as it did….”
The documents in question were allegedly stolen by the hacktivist Football Leaks website and published in October 2018 by German news outlet Der Spiegel.
They included a purported “information-gathering questionnaire” sent to Ronaldo by his lawyers shortly after the alleged incident. In the questionnaire, an individual referred to as “X,” who is alleged to be Ronaldo, appears to admit to engaging in non-consensual sex with Mayorga.
Ronaldo’s legal team claim the documents were falsified, and the athlete has always denied the allegations.
In 2010, Mayorga signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) consenting to drop any claim against Ronaldo for a $375,000 settlement. Her lawsuit claimed she was “coerced” into signing the NDA by Ronaldo’s legal fixers at a time when she was “mentally incapacitated.”
Stovall and Mayorga have appealed the case.
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