A US judge has dismissed a rape allegation lawsuit against Cristiano Ronaldo because the accuser’s lawyer relied on leaked and stolen records.
Kathryn Mayorga alleges that the Manchester United footballer raped her at a Las Vegas hotel in 2009.
He denies the allegations and has never been charged.
She reportedly reached an out-of-court settlement with the star in 2010, but has been seeking millions more than the $375,000 (£304,000) she received.
Ms Mayorga said that while she had agreed to the settlement shortly after the alleged incident, her emotional trauma at the time did not allow her to participate in the mediation process, and she felt pressured to accept the offer.
Before filing her complaint, Ms Mayorga’s lawyer, Leslie Stovall, received “ill-gotten” information and documents which were confidential and privileged, US District Judge Jennifer Dorsey wrote.
The judge said the lawyer harmed Mr Ronaldo, 37, by conducting himself in “bad faith” through repeated use of stolen, privileged documents to prosecute the case.
In a 42-page ruling released on Friday and quoted by AFP, Judge Dorsey accused Mr Stovall of “abuses and flagrant circumvention of the proper litigation process” and said that as a result, “Mayorga loses her opportunity to pursue this case.”
Last year, a magistrate judge recommended the case be dismissed due to Mr Stovall’s conduct.
The BBC has contacted Mr Stovall for comment.
In 2019, US prosecutors said Cristiano Ronaldo would not face charges over the accusations as they could not “be proven beyond reasonable doubt”.
The Clark County District Attorney’s office in Las Vegas said Ms Mayorga reported an assault in 2009, but refused to state where it had happened or who the attacker was. As a result police were unable “to conduct any meaningful investigation”. But the allegations were investigated again in 2018 at her request.
It followed a 2017 article in German magazine Der Spiegel, which reported that in 2010, Ms Mayorga reached an out-of-court settlement with the footballer for agreeing never to go public with the allegations.
Ms Mayorga’s lawyer said she had been inspired to re-open the case by the #MeToo movement.
Mr Ronaldo has not denied that the two met in Las Vegas in 2009, but said that what happened between them was consensual.
The BBC does not generally name people who say they are victims of sexual assault, but Ms Mayorga has given consent to make her name public.