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Cristiano Ronaldo rape allegation: lawsuit moved to federal court, says lawyer

A state lawsuit filed last September in Nevada accusing Cristiano Ronaldo of rape has been dropped so it can be moved to federal court, according to a lawyer for the alleged victim. Kathryn Mayorga, who came forward with her story last year, claims the Juventus and Portugal star used “fixers” to stop her pursuing criminal charges, including paying her $375,000 to keep quiet. She has alleged Ronaldo assaulted her in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009.

On Wednesday, one of Mayorga’s lawyer emphasized the case had only been dropped at state level so that it could be moved to federal court. Mayorga’s lawyers have said it has been difficult to serve papers for the state lawsuit to Ronaldo as he lives in Europe. It is thought that it will be easier to serve papers involving a federal case.

“The charges were not dropped,” Larissa Drohobyczer told ESPN. “The state case was dismissed by us because we filed the identical claims in federal court due to federal court’s rules on serving foreigners. We basically just switched venues, but the claims remain.”

Las Vegas police confirmed to the Guardian in an email that their investigation remains open. “The LVMPD criminal investigation involving Cristiano Ronaldo is still ongoing,” wrote a spokesperson.

Ronaldo’s lawyer, Peter Christiansen, declined to comment on the case on Wednesday.

Ronaldo has denied Mayorga’s allegations. “I firmly deny the accusations being issued against me,” he said in October 2018. “Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in. Keen as I may be to clear my name, I refuse to feed the media spectacle created by people seeking to promote themselves at my expense. My clear conscious [sic] will thereby allow me to await with tranquillity the results of any and all investigations.”

The 33-year-old Ronaldo is one of the most famous athletes in the world. He is a five-time winner of the Ballon d’Or, an annual award for the best footballer in the world. He is also a national hero in Portugal, and led his country to the European Championship title in 2016.