Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo was on Tuesday reimbursed over $300,000 for legal fees he spent while defending himself in a federal civil case alleging he had raped a woman in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009.
The case was dismissed in June, after the judge found that the plaintiff’s lawyer engaged in misconduct so severe that it would be impossible for Ronaldo to have a fair trial.
US District Judge Jennifer Dorsey ruled the attorney representing the accuser Kathryn Mayorga, Leslie Stovall, pay Ronaldo $334,637.50. The court found Stovall owed the money after the attorney was judged to have harmed the footballer through “bad-faith lawyering.”
Ronaldo’s legal team had sought more compensation, but Dorsey concluded Ronaldo and his lawyers had dragged the case on longer than necessary.
The case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning Mayorga cannot refile the complaint.
Mayorga said she was coerced into signing a non-disclosure agreement and $375,000 settlement following the alleged rape, which Ronaldo has maintained was a consensual sexual encounter. Mayorga had asked a judge to void that agreement.
The existence of the settlement was first reported by the German newspaper Der Spiegel in 2017 using leaked confidential communications from Ronaldo’s attorneys.
Last year, a court found that Stovall reached out to the source of that leak to request those documents, including “the reporting and communications of the attorneys and investigators representing and defending Ronaldo following the sexual assault thru the negotiations and conclusion of the settlement and non-disclosure agreement.”
“Stovall’s repeated use of stolen, privileged documents to prosecute this case has every indicia of bad-faith conduct,” Judge Dorsey wrote on Friday.
The judge found that “the misappropriated documents and their confidential contents have been woven into the very fabric of Mayorga’s claims,” stating that simply striking the leaked documents from the case and disqualifying Stovall would not adequately address the misconduct.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department reopened a criminal investigation at Mayorga’s request in August 2018. In July 2019, the Clark County District Attorney’s Office announced they would not pursue criminal charges, saying the allegations could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
CNN’s Andy Rose contributed reporting.