A U.S. appeals court plans to hear Wednesday from lawyers trying to revive a woman’s attempt to force Cristiano Ronaldo to pay millions more than the $375,000 he paid her to maintain her silence after she claimed he raped in Las Vegas in 2009.
An attorney for the woman is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to overturn the June 2022 dismissal of the case and reopen the civil lawsuit she first filed in Nevada in 2018.
The appeal argues that the federal court judge in Nevada was wrong to repeatedly reject the woman’s attempts to reveal and include in evidence the confidentiality agreement she signed in 2010 when accepting payments from Ronaldo.
A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based appeals court is not expected to issue an immediate ruling after it questions lawyers for Ronaldo and his accuser, Kathryn Mayorga, during oral arguments Wednesday in a special session in law school on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Mayorga gave her consent through her attorneys, including Leslie Mark Stovall, to make her name public.
Ronaldo is one of the most recognizable and richest athletes in the world. He is the captain of the Portugal national football team and has played for Spanish club Real Madrid, England’s Manchester United and Italian club Juventus. He joined Saudi club Al Nassr earlier this year after finishing his second spell at Manchester United.
Las Vegas police reopened a rape investigation after Mayorga’s lawsuit was filed, but Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson decided in 2019 not to pursue criminal charges. He said too much time had passed and the evidence did not show that Mayorga’s accusation could be proven before a jury.
Mayorga, a former teacher and model from the Las Vegas area, was 25 when she met Ronaldo at a nightclub in 2009 and went with him and others to his hotel suite. She alleges in her lawsuit filed nearly a decade after Ronaldo, then 24, sexually assaulted her in a bedroom. Ronaldo, through his lawyers, maintained that the sex was consensual. The two reached a confidentiality agreement in 2010 under which Stovall acknowledged that Mayorga received $375,000.
In dismissing the case last year, U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey in Las Vegas took the unusual step of fining Mayorga’s lead attorney, Stovall, $335,000 for acting in “bad faith” in filing the case on behalf of Mayorga. of your client. Stovall’s appeal on behalf of Mayorga, filed in March, calls Dorsey’s ruling “a manifest abuse of discretion,” seeking to open the records and revive the case.
It alleges that Mayorga was not bound by the confidentiality agreement because Ronaldo or his associates violated it before a German media outlet, Der Spiegel, published an article in April 2017 titled “Cristiano Ronaldo’s Secret” based on documents obtained from what court documents called a “whistleblower.” Football Leaks portal.” Ronaldo’s lawyers argued, and the judge agreed, that the “Football Leaks” documents and the confidentiality agreement are the product of privileged conversations between lawyer and client, there is no guarantee that they are authentic and not can be considered evidence.