Spanish star player Jenni Hermoso Tuesday appeared for a preliminary court hearing as part of aninvestigation into Luis Rubiales’ sexual assault case.
Hermoso, who testified behind closed doors, told the court that the kiss she received from Rubiales was “at no point consensual.”
She has previously stated Rubiales, who at the time served as the head of Spain’s football federation, and his staff tried to pressure the footballer and her family to downplay the incident.
“Everything went well,” Hermoso told reporters after her testimony. “The judicial process will continue its course, and thanks for the support that many of you had given to me.”
In September last year, Hermoso formally filed a criminal complaint against the former football official. The incident took place in August, when Spain’s female football team won the World Cup.
Spanish state prosecutors accused Rubiales of sexual assault and coercion.
Spanish media said Hermoso asked the judge to keep her court appearance as private as possible. The 33-year-old Hermoso, the record scorer for Spain’s women’s team, arrived wearing a grey coat. She waved to journalists before entering the court along with her lawyers.
The judge is also hearing testimony from other World Cup-winning players and coaches before deciding whether to start a trial.
Rubiales’ behavior sparks worldwide condemnation
The fallout over Rubiales’ behavior during the World Cup ceremony sparked widespread condemnation in Spain and the world. Rubiales ultimately resigned as president of the Spanish soccer federation.
However, he has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Based on a sexual consent law, Rubiales could face a fine or a prison sentence of one to four years if found guilty.
The new law eliminated the difference between “sexual harassment” and “sexual assault,” sanctioning any unconsented sexual act.
FIFA banned Rubiales for three years until after the men’s 2026 World Cup. His ban will expire before the next women’s tournament in 2027.
rm/dj (Reuters, AP)