Cristiano Ronaldo's new Las Vegas criminal defence lawyer went on the attack on behalf of his star client on Thursday, saying documents cited in media reports about a rape claim against the soccer legend were "complete fabrications" and the encounter was consensual.
In a statement, lawyer Peter S. Christiansen blamed reports about the 2009 encounter on electronic data leaks of documents that he said were stolen by a hacker from law firms and other entities in Europe and then put up for sale. Ronaldo "is accustomed to being the subject of press attention that goes along with being famous," Christiansen said.
But the statement called it "absolutely deplorable that any media outlet would support or advance such an elaborate and deliberate defamation campaign based on stolen, easily manipulated digital documents."
The statement acknowledged that Ronaldo and Kathryn Mayorga reached a nondisclosure agreement in 2010 after their encounter in Las Vegas. Mayorga's attorneys, Leslie Stovall and Larissa Drohobyczer, did not immediately respond to telephone, email and text messages.
Ronaldo, 33, of Portugal, plays for the Italian club Juventus and his home country's national team. Some sponsors, including Nike and video game maker EA Sports, have expressed concern about the rape allegation.
Mayorga, 34, a former model, filed a lawsuit on September 27 in Nevada acknowledging that she accepted $375,000 to keep quiet about the encounter with Ronaldo in a hotel penthouse.
The lawsuit seeks to void the agreement that her lawyers say she signed under pressure from "fixers" trying to protect the reputation of Ronaldo. The lawsuit also seeks monetary damages of at least $200,000.
RONALDO CAN 'NO LONGER STAY SILENT'
"Given the breach of that agreement by the other side and the inflammatory accusations that have been lodged in the ensuing days, Mr. Ronaldo feels compelled to no longer stand silent," Christiansen said in his statement.
"To absolve any doubt, Mr. Ronaldo has always maintained, as he does today, that what occurred in 2009 in Las Vegas was consensual in nature," it said.
"The documents which purportedly contain statements by Mr. Ronaldo and have been reported in the media are complete fabrications."
Christiansen declined to comment further. Drohobyczer said previously that Mayorga never wanted her name made public but became worried that she would be identified after a 2017 media report apparently referred to the encounter at the Palms Hotel and Casino.
In August, her attorneys asked Las Vegas police to reopen an investigation that had been closed in 2009 without charges.
The lawyers followed with the lawsuit about two weeks ago.
Police have refused to release documents, citing the reopened case, and have not commented about progress in the investigation.
Stovall and Drohobyczer have said a Las Vegas psychiatrist diagnosed Mayorga with post-traumatic stress and depression "caused by Cristiano Ronaldo's sexual assault in 2009."
The attorneys said she was "emotionally fragile," out of the country and would not be interviewed by media.
The psychiatrist, Norton Roitman, has testified numerous times as an expert witness in state court in Las Vegas. His office issued a statement to The Associated Press saying his role in the case does not permit him to publicly comment.
Christiansen replaced high-profile criminal defence attorneys David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld as Ronaldo's legal representative in Las Vegas. Ronaldo's lawyer in Berlin, Christian Schertz, has refused comment about the rape allegation.
He threatened to sue after the German magazine Der Spiegel reported on the lawsuit, saying the article violated Ronaldo's personal rights. Telephone calls to Der Spiegel on Wednesday went to voicemail.
THE FULL STATEMENT
"I have been hired to represent Cristiano Ronaldo with respect to the recent civil complaint arising from events alleged to have occurred in 2009, all of which were the subject of a mutual release between the parties in 2010.
"Given the breach of that agreement by the other side and the inflammatory accusations that have been lodged in the ensuing days as a result, Mr. Ronaldo feels compelled to no longer stand silent and in fact, is entitled under that agreement to respond proportionately in kind.
"To be clear, Mr. Ronaldo vehemently denies all of the allegations in the complaint and has consistently maintained that denial for the last nine years.
"The documents which purportedly contain statements by Mr. Ronaldo and have been reported in the media are complete fabrications. It is my understanding that in 2015, dozens of entities (including law firms) across many different industries throughout Europe were hacked and their electronic data was stolen and captured by a cybercriminal.
"This hacker attempted to sell this data, and one media outlet has now irresponsibly published the stolen documents, significant portions of which were altered and/or completely fabricated. To absolve any doubt, Mr. Ronaldo has always maintained, as he does today, that what occurred in 2009 in Las Vegas was consensual in nature.
"While Mr. Ronaldo does not deny the existence of the mutual agreement and release, his motivations for agreeing to that resolution have been twisted to say the least. Far from any admission of guilt or any ulterior motive, Mr. Ronaldo was advised to privately resolve the allegations against him in order to avoid the inevitable attempts that are now being made to destroy a reputation that has been built upon hard work, athleticism and honour. Unfortunately, he now finds himself embroiled in the type of litigation that is all too commonplace in America.
"While Mr. Ronaldo is accustomed to being the subject of press attention that goes along with being famous, it is absolutely deplorable that any media outlet would support or advance such an elaborate and deliberate defamation campaign based on stolen, easily manipulated digital documents.
"Mr. Ronaldo will leave future discussion of any and all legal matters to his attorneys here and in Europe. He is confident that the truth will survive this frenzy and the laws of Nevada will be upheld and enforced."