A civil case regarding sexual assault allegations made against Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly close to reaching a conclusion after a recommendation was made.
Former model Kathryn Mayorga accused Ronaldo of sexually assaulting her in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009, during his first spell as a Manchester United player.
The Portuguese forward insisted that their interaction was consensual and, in 2019, a criminal probe against him was dismissed.
With Mayorga later opening a civil case against the footballer, his lawyers then aimed to get the case thrown out of court by alleging that her attorney had "hundreds of pages of stolen correspondence" between Ronaldo and his team, according to The Sun.
The documents are believed to have been hacked from the 36-year-old and his lawyers before being passed to Mayorga's legal team.
Here are 10 footballers who have been to jail
US Magistrates Judge Daniel Albregts has now seemingly sided with the United player's camp, reaching a finding that Mayorga's lawyers had conducted themselves inappropriately when they got hold of the stolen documents, and recommending that the civil case be dismissed as a result.
"Dismissing Mayorga's case for the inappropriate conduct of her attorney is a harsh result," Albregts wrote in his recommendation, per Sky Sports.
"But it is, unfortunately, the only appropriate sanction to ensure the integrity of the judicial process."
Ronaldo's lawyer Peter Christiansen commented on the finding after a lengthy court battle.
"We are pleased with the Court's detailed review of this matter and its willingness to justly apply the law to the facts and recommend dismissal of the civil case against Mr. Ronaldo," he said, per Eurosport.
it is understood that Mayorga's legal representatives now have 14 days to contest the court's decision.
According to Sky Sports, Judge Albregts also noted that the court found no evidence that Ronaldo's attorneys had intimidated Mayorga or stopped law enforcement when she originally dropped criminal charges and agreed to a $375 000 (R5.5 million) confidential settlement in August 2010.
Here are the highest-paid footballers in 2021, and what they earn weekly