This was after a Nevada woman claimed that the soccer star had raped her in 2009.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts stated in documents filed Friday, that denying access to police data for the New York Times "would almost certainly raise concerns about government censorship."
Albregts recommended U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey move to a state court the newspaper’s open-records request of documents, so far kept secret by a hush money agreement Kathryn Mayorga signed over a decade ago.
Albregts stated that a protective order Dorsey placed to stop the release of the 2010 agreement didn't apply to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. "LVMPD is not prohibited from disclosing its criminal investigative files."
Mayorga sued Ronaldo in 2018 and claimed that she was forced into the settlement, refused to identify herself publicly and should have millions more than the $375,000 Ronaldo's representatives gave her.
The Associated Press does not usually name victims of sexual assault. Mayorga, however, gave her consent through her lawyers, Leslie Mark Stovall, and Larissa Drohobyczer to have her name made public.
Tuesday's email and phone messages regarding Albregts’ recommendation were not answered by the lawyers immediately.
Albregts, an appointed magistrate, preside over pretrial and procedural matters.
Dorsey, a federal judge who has lifetime tenure, can accept or reject his recommendations.
Albregts said the public records dispute should be referred to state court. He cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1984 involving the Seattle Times.
He pointed out that the police department wasn't a party in the MayorgaRonaldo hush money deal and that all parties agreed that the state court, not the federal court, was the right venue to decide if state law obliges police to release information gathered by investigators.
Albregts stated that while LVMPD's files may contain identical information to the protected order, LVMPD didn't obtain this information due to the lawsuit. "To conclude that the protective order restrains (police dissemination of information it obtained from other sources) would be a violation of the First Amendment."
Dorsey ruled that the 2010 agreement meant that the dispute between Mayorga & Ronaldo was subject to private arbitration.
However, the judge has yet to decide if Mayorga was mentally unable at the time to sign and accept the secrecy agreements from Ronaldo's representatives.
Mayorga could enter the pact if she was able to, but the judge said that she was bound by confidentiality. An arbitrator should determine behind closed doors if the contract is valid.
Mayorga's civil suit was first filed in state court in 2018, and then moved to federal court. It claims that Ronaldo and his associates violated the confidentiality pact prior to Der Spiegel publishing an article in 2017. The article was based on documents obtained by an entity Albregts identifies as "whistleblower Portal Football Leaks".
The lawsuit accuses Ronaldo and reputation-protection "fixers" of conspiracy, defamation, breach of contract, coercion and fraud.
Stovall stated in documents filed last April that damages should be $25 million plus attorney fees.
Ronaldo's legal team, which included attorney Peter Christiansen from Las Vegas, blamed the published information on electronic data stolen from European law firms and other entities and made available for sale. Christiansen claimed that the information was also altered or fabricated.
Christiansen and Kendelee Works, co-counsel, have been fighting since October 2018 against public disclosure of the confidential agreement.
Christiansen declined Tuesday to comment on Albregt’s decision.
Albregts recommended last October that Dorsey refuse Mayorga’s attorney’s claims that Mayorga had learning disabilities as a child, and that Ronaldo's legal counsel pressured her into consenting to the settlement.
Albregts' detailed report also criticized Stovall for his bad faith and inadequacy for using Football Leaks documents in Mayorga’s case and for relying upon what Albregts called leaked and stolen documents detailing attorney client discussions between Ronaldo's lawyers.
Stovall's "audacious," impertinent, and abusive" attempts to make the confidentiality agreement public via legal maneuvers and court records were cited by the magistrate. He stated that the matter should not be tried.
Albregts stated in an Oct. 6 report to Dorsey that "there is no way for this case of proceeding where the court can tell which arguments and testimony are based upon these privileged documents."
Mayorga is now 38 and a former teacher in Las Vegas. According to her lawsuit, she met Ronaldo in a nightclub and went along with other people to his hotel suite. She alleged that he assaulted and raped her in a bedroom in June 2009. She was 25 years old at the time. Ronaldo was 24.
Ronaldo is now 37 years old and one of the most well-known sports stars in the world. He is a member of the English Premier League team Manchester United and has captained Portugal's soccer team. He was a Turin-based player for Juventus in Italy during the last several years.
Ronaldo is the father of four children, including one with Georgina Rodriguez, his partner.
His lawyers don't dispute Ronaldo and Mayorga had sex. Christiansen maintained that it was consensual, and not rape.
Mayorga was at Las Vegas police when the incident occurred, but police closed down the investigation as she could not identify her attacker or say where it took place.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson was elected in Las Vegas in 2019. He decided not to pursue criminal prosecutions based on the results of the police investigation.
Wolfson stated that too much time had passed and that evidence he reviewed did not show Mayorga's accusations could be proven to a jury beyond reasonable doubt.