A U.S. federal magistrate judge in Nevada is siding with Cristiano Ronaldo's lawyers against a woman who sued for more than the $375,000 in hush money she received in 2010 after saying the international football star raped her in Las Vegas.
In a scathing recommendation to the judge hearing the case, Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts on Wednesday blamed Kathryn Mayorga's attorney, Leslie Mark Stovall, for basing the case on leaked and stolen documents that Albregts said were privileged communications between Ronaldo and his lawyers.
"Dismissing Mayorga's case for the inappropriate conduct of her attorney is a harsh result,'' Albregts wrote in his recommendation to U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey. "But it is, unfortunately, the only appropriate sanction to ensure the integrity of the judicial process.''
A date for Dorsey to take up Albregt's recommendation was not immediately set.
"Stovall has acted in bad faith to his client's -- and his profession's -- detriment,'' Albregts decided.
Stovall and other attorneys in his office did not immediately respond Thursday to telephone and email messages about Albregt's order.
Ronaldo's attorney in Las Vegas, Peter Christiansen, issued a statement saying Ronaldo's legal team was "pleased with the court's detailed review ... and its willingness to justly apply the law to the facts and recommend dismissal of the civil case against Mr. Ronaldo.''
The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted, but Mayorga gave consent through Stovall and attorney Larissa Drohobyczer to make her name public.
Albregts noted that the court made no decision that Ronaldo committed a crime and found no evidence his attorneys and representatives "intimidated Mayorga or impeded law enforcement'' when Mayorga dropped criminal charges and finalized the $375,000 confidential settlement in August 2010.
Ronaldo, now 36, is one of the most recognizable and highly paid players in sports. He has captained his home-country team, Portugal, and now plays in England for the Premier League club Manchester United.