The elite team of ‘sweepers’ who ran up $1m bill to keep Ronaldo’s image spotless
criminal investigation – and the effect it would have on his client’s reputation – he brought together a crew tasked with ensuring whatever happened never became public.
The “team”, as they are referred to in legal papers, included a top UK law firm which promotes itself on protecting reputations and has worked with footballers.
In the US, Osório de Castro employed a pit-bull firm of lawyers renowned in media circles. They were claimed to be so aggressive that one Hollywood ladies’ man joked they had “f ***** more people than he had”.
The “team” included a £360-perhour ex-police officer with good contacts in the Vegas force, a medical professional and a forensic expert.
The million-dollar unit was lined up against Ms Mayorga, who earned a modest living through modelling. According to court papers, Ms Mayorga, now 34 and in hiding after death threats from fans, alleges Ronaldo assaulted her in a bathroom as she changed to use the hot tub.
She claims that after a police medical examination a nurse and a detective told her she would be humiliated if she pursued the case.
Fearful, she refused to press charges and instead hired her own attorney.
Meanwhile, it is claimed, the footballer’s crew wanted to know everything about his alleged victim and had a detective secretly watching her.
He collected details about her work history, information on parking tickets and who she voted for.
One note published in Der Spiegel is claimed to have stated: “Left house last night at 8pm, drove to MGM Hotel, parked car and met young man she hugged at the elevator.” Another observed that in a restaurant “she drank red wine, she had more than three glasses of wine”.
Ms Mayorga realised she was being followed. Her father, Larry said: “I took her to kickboxing during this time. I wanted her to learn to defend herself. We were very worried about her.”
The private eye is claimed to have tried to tap old friends on the force who allegedly revealed they would not oppose an out-of-court settlement.
In September 2009, Der Spiegel claims Ronaldo’s team came up with a questionnaire seeking every detail of that night in Las Vegas.
The results, which are said to have ended up in the hands of Mr Stovall via whistleblowing website Football Leaks, now play a key role in the case. In court papers, Mr Stovall claims the purpose of the “team” was “to obstruct the criminal investigation and prosecution of Cristiano Ronaldo”.
Referring to the team, Mr Stovall told the Mirror: “We believe, together, these people worked to try and discredit Ms Mayorga before then acting to stop any criminal investigation from happening.
“My office has written to Geoffrey Cox [Attorney General for England and Wales], the Met and Greater Manchester Police.”
Meanwhile, in a stinging riposte, Ronaldo’s new US lawyer hit back claiming cyber-criminals had fabricated stolen documents to make him look guilty of rape.
Peter Christiansen said data published by Der Spiegel had been hacked from computers and altered. He claimed the forward was a victim of “an elaborate and deliberate defamation campaign based on stolen, easily manipulated digital documents”.
He added: “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.
“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.”
Mr Christiansen said Ronaldo, who in July signed for Italian club Juventus, felt “compelled to no longer stand silent” against the accusations against him.
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