Attorneys for soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo say documents in which Ronaldo acknowledges sexually assaulting a woman were fabricated by hackers.
German news magazine Der Spiegel published the documents in its reporting on Kathryn Mayorga, a Las Vegas woman who says Ronaldo, 33, raped her in a hotel room in 2009, when she was 25.
“The documents that allegedly contain statements by Cristiano Ronaldo and were reproduced in the media are pure inventions,” Las Vegas–based attorney Peter Christiansen said Wednesday in a statement to The Guardian.
Christiansen suggested the documents had been stolen by hackers and altered before they were shared with reporters.
“By 2015, dozens of entities (including law firms) in different parts of Europe were attacked and saw a lot of information on their electronic equipment being stolen by a hacker,” the attorney said. He said the hacker then “tried to sell such information” after “significant parts” had been “altered and/or completely forged.”
“So there are no doubts: Mr. Ronaldo vehemently denies all of the allegations in the complaint and has consistently maintained that denial for the last nine years,” Christiansen added.
Der Spiegel stands by its reporting, a spokesman said, asserting that reporters “carefully researched” the story.
Mayorga filed a lawsuit Sept. 27 seeking to toss a nondisclosure agreement she said she signed as part of a $375,000 out-of-court settlement with Ronaldo. Der Spiegel published a lengthy interview with her two days later.
Christiansen said the existence of any such agreement “is by no means a confession of guilt,” French news outlet AFP reported.
Attorneys for Mayorga said last week they may publicly release some of the documents as proof of their authenticity. One lawyer told reporters Mayorga has struggled with “depression, intrusive thoughts, considered suicide, abused alcohol and had difficulty maintaining personal relationships and employment” as a result of the alleged rape.
Ronaldo has called the entire story “fake news.”
“They want to promote by my name. It’s normal. They want to be famous,” he said in an Instagram video. “It’s part of the job. I’m a happy man and all good.”
The Portuguese star plays for the Italian club Juventus and Portugal’s national team.