LONDON – A high-profile defamation court battle between two British soccer spouses ended on Thursday, with a lawyer claiming Rebecca Verdi deliberately destroyed key evidence that she leaked her opponent’s personal social media posts to tabloid journalists.
The fall-out grabbed national headlines in October 2019 when Rooney, who is married to former Manchester United and England star Wayne Rooney, said he spent months deliberately falsifying Instagram stories to find out who was sending his personal information to The Sun magazine. Posted by .
In a social media post that quickly went viral, he announced that Verdi was responsible for blocking everyone from viewing his Instagram stories, except for one of Verdi’s accounts.
The case, closely watched in Britain, has been dubbed the “Wagatha Christie” trial – a drama about “WAG”, a scandal for soccer players’ wives and girlfriends, and a reference to detective novelist Agatha Christie.
Verdi has denied the allegations and is suing for defamation, despite the judges urging the women to settle the case. The trial is set to begin in the sixth and final day of the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
Rooney’s lawyer, David Sherbourne, argued that Verdi had been accused of deliberately deleting phone messages “to cover up criminal evidence”. The lawyer further alleged that Verdi had “continued practice of leaking confidential information to the press.”
Verdi’s lawyer has denied the allegations, saying Rooney failed to present any evidence in support of the allegations. He asserted that his client had been subjected to “public abuse and ridicule” as a result of Rooney’s claims and that he had suffered substantial defamation.
The judge said he would preserve his verdict until the next date.