LAS VEGAS –
Cristiano Ronaldo is asking a US judge to order a woman’s lawyer to pay the international soccer star more than US$626,000 after he claimed in a failed lawsuit seeking millions that Ronaldo raped the woman in Las Vegas nearly a decade earlier.
In a bluntly drafted court document, Ronaldo’s lawyer, Peter Christiansen, asks US District Judge Jennifer Dorsey to hold the woman’s lawyer, Leslie Mark Stovall, personally liable for the amount.
Stovall did not immediately respond to phone and email messages on Wednesday. Text messages to partner Larissa Drohobyczer went unanswered. Stovall must file a response with the court by July 8.
On June 10, Dorsey kicked the case out of court to punish Stovall for “bad faith conduct” and the improper use of leaked and stolen documents to pursue the case.
Stovall “crossed the line of ethical behavior before bringing this action, and his disregard for the rules of this court has continued unabated,” the judge concluded.
Dorsey said in his 42-page order that the outright dismissal of plaintiff Kathryn Mayorga’s case without an opportunity to refile it was a harsh sanction, but said Ronaldo was wronged by Stovall’s conduct.
The Associated Press does not usually name people who say they are victims of sexual assault, but Mayorga gave consent through Stovall and Drohobyczer to make his name public.
The bid for Ronaldo’s court costs and attorneys’ fees, filed on Friday, eclipses a silent $375,000 payment Mayorga received in 2010 to sign a confidentiality agreement and drop a criminal complaint alleging she was sexually assaulted.
“Given the abuse and gross misconduct by Stovall, Stovall should be held personally responsible for ensuring that Ronaldo is reimbursed for having had to defend himself against his vexatious and bad faith conduct,” said the reimbursement request. Christiansen. He charged attorney fees between $350 and $850 an hour for nearly 1,200 hours of work.
Mayorga’s civil lawsuit — filed in 2018 in state court and transferred in 2019 to federal court — ultimately sought more than $25 million in damages, plus Stovall’s attorney fees.
He alleged that Ronaldo or his associates had breached the confidentiality agreement before a German media outlet, Der Spiegel, published an article in April 2017 titled “Cristiano Ronaldo’s Secret” based on documents obtained from what the documents courts call it “Football Leaks whistleblower portal”.
Ronaldo’s lawyers accuse Stovall of obtaining stolen documents containing privileged attorney-client communication and then repeatedly trying to make them public by attaching them to court documents.
A second court filing on Friday asks Dorsey to seal off a portion of the court filing containing confidential documents.
Mayorga is a former model and teacher who lives in the Las Vegas area. Her lawsuit says she met Ronaldo at a nightclub and went with him and others to his hotel suite, where she alleged he assaulted her in a bedroom. She was 25 at the time. He was 24 years old.
Ronaldo’s legal team do not dispute that Ronaldo met Mayorga and they had sex in June 2009, but have argued that it was consensual.
Ronaldo, now 37, is one of the highest paid and most recognizable sports stars in the world. He plays for English Premier League club Manchester United and captained the national team of his home country Portugal. He has spent several years in recent years playing in Italy for Turin-based club Juventus.
Las Vegas police reopened their rape investigation after Mayorga filed the lawsuit in 2018, but Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson decided in 2019 not to pursue criminal charges. He said too much time had passed to prove the case to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.
Stovall argued that Mayorga did not break the silence rule. His lawsuit sought to have it overturned, accusing Ronaldo and the reputation protection “fixers” of conspiracy, defamation, breach of contract, coercion and fraud.
The Las Vegas police report compiled about Ronaldo after Mayorga filed his lawsuit in 2018 may yet become public as part of a pending lawsuit in Las Vegas state court.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is asking a judge to determine whether to comply with a public records request from The New York Times. The department maintains that no charges have been filed in the case.
A U.S. magistrate in Las Vegas said in March that a protective order imposed by Dorsey to prevent publication of the 2010 agreement does not prevent the department from releasing its filing.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal is also part of the deal. Lawyer Margaret McLetchie, representing the newspapers, did not immediately respond to messages.