SAN FRANCISCO, October 07, (THEWILL) – The sexual assault case involving celebrated Portuguese international footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo, brought by a woman who accused the Juventus player of raping her in his suite at a Las Vegas resort more than a decade ago is now heading to trial before a Federal judge in Nevada, THEWILL has learnt.
The grounds for litigation at the moment concern the settlement reached by both parties ten years ago.
U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey said she will hear arguments and decide based on the arguments whether Ronaldo’s accuser Kathryn Mayorga was mentally fit to enter a 2010 hush-money agreement with Ronaldo’s representatives that paid her $375,000.
When reached to react, Ronaldo’s attorney, Peter Christiansen, declined Tuesday to comment. Christiansen could appeal Dorsey’s order to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Leslie Mark Stovall, the lead counsel for Mayorga’s lawyers, did not immediately respond either.
Judge Dorsey, in her statement, wrote that it was apposite for a court to decide whether Mayorga “lacked the mental capacity” to sign that confidentiality arrangement with Ronaldo’s representatives and “whether any agreement … was ever formed between the parties.”
Whether either of the accuser, Mayorga, or the accused, Ronaldo, will be required for in-person appearance in court remains vague for the time being. However, the judge has given both sides until the end of November to agree upon a plan for a bench trial.
Judge Dorsey’s ruling is a setback for Ronaldo’s legal team, who have so far kept details of the 2010 settlement sealed. Questions about the case can now be asked in a public court, the type of questions that U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts said in February belonged behind closed doors.
Mayorga, 37, is a former teacher and model who lives in the Las Vegas area. In her lawsuit, she accused Ronaldo or his associates of violating their confidentiality agreement by allowing reports about it to appear in European publications in 2017. She seeks to collect at least $200,000 more from Ronaldo.
In their defense, Ronaldo’s lawyers maintain that media reports were based on electronic data illegally hacked, stolen and sold by cyber criminals. They believe documents have been altered and complain that Mayorga’s lawsuit damages Ronaldo’s reputation.
THEWILL recalls that Mayorga claimed she met Ronaldo at a nightclub in 2009 and went with him and other people to his hotel suite where her lawsuit alleged he assaulted her in a bedroom. She was 25 at the time. He was 24.
Ronaldo, through his lawyers, disagrees with that portrayal of events and maintain that though there was sex, it was purely consensual.
Stovall, in Mayorga’s defense, said the model who had learning disabilities as a child, was pressured by Ronaldo’s representatives and lacked the legal capacity to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
The judge declined, at least for now, to name Mayorga’s brother as her guardian for the case and also conceded that some disputes could be resolved out of court.
“The court must decide whether Mayorga lacked the mental capacity to assent to the settlement agreement,” Judge Dorsey wrote.
If Mayorga was fit to enter the agreement, the judge said, it binds her to confidentiality and an arbitrator’s decision behind closed doors about whether the contract was legal and valid.
No date was immediately set for trial to commence.