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Raquel Leviss’ Case Against Tom Sandoval Is ‘Weaker’ Than Ariana Madix, Lawyer Says (Exclusive)

Rachel “Raquel” Leviss sued Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix for revenge porn — and some Vanderpump Rules fans may be surprised to learn she could have a stronger case against Madix than Sandoval.

“The case against Tom is actually weaker than the case against Ariana,” attorney Neama Rahmani, who is not involved in the case, exclusively told Us Weekly on Thursday, February 29. “This is why under California’s revenge porn statute, there is a requirement that the porn be distributed. We know that Tom was allegedly participating in this FaceTime and he may have recorded it, but it’s unclear whether he sent it to anyone.”

“The allegations are that Ariana got access to Tom’s phone and sent it to herself and to Rachel. So that would be the distribution there. Of course, we don’t know who has the video and who it was sent to,” the legal expert continued. “The complaint says that it may have gone to members of the production company or even the studio, in which case the distribution requirement would be met. But based on the complaint itself, I don’t know how strong of a liability case it is against Tom.”

Us confirmed on Thursday that Leviss, 29, sued Sandoval, 41, and Madix, 38, for revenge porn, eavesdropping, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. She accused Sandoval of recording a private video call between them without her consent and claimed Madix acquired the NSFW footage, which she allegedly sent to herself and potentially to other people.

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“Leviss was a victim of the predatory and dishonest behavior of an older man, who recorded sexually explicit videos of her without her knowledge or consent, which were then distributed, disseminated, and discussed publicly by a scorned woman seeking vengeance, catalyzing the scandal,” the documents stated. “Leviss ultimately checked herself into a mental health facility and remained there for three months while Bravo, Evolution, and the cast milked the interest her excoriation had peaked.”

Raquel Leviss' Case Against Tom Sandoval Is 'Weaker' Than Ariana Madix, Lawyer Says
Raquel Leviss, Tom Sandoval, and Ariana Madix. Getty Images (3)

News broke in March 2023 that Sandoval and Madix ended their nearly decade-long romance due to his affair with Leviss. The recording of the intimate FaceTime call between him and Leviss was later mentioned by Madix and other Vanderpump Rules cast members on various podcasts.

In her lawsuit, Leviss’ legal team argued that the aftermath affected her mental health. They also accused Bravo and production company Evolution of misleading Leviss into thinking she couldn’t speak out about the situation.

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“As a result, she suffered in silence as Bravo and Evolution watched viewership explode, and the rest of the cast enjoyed unseen levels of public recognition and professional opportunity,” the paperwork noted. “Meanwhile, Leviss, who was humiliated and villainized for public consumption, remains a shell of her former self, with her career prospects stunted and her reputation in tatters.”

Rahmani told Us that the case will focus on “how many people” received the explicit video.

“If it was disseminated far and wide and there’s a video out there and dozens or more people have seen it, that’s a big problem,” he added on Thursday. “Once it’s out there on the internet, you can’t really unring the bell or put the toothpaste back in the tube or whatever analogy you want to use. But if it was really limited in terms of the distribution and it just went to Ariana, Tom and Rachel, I think it’s a much weaker case.”

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The attorney also discussed what defense Madix could potentially take, saying, “I think the lawyers who are going to defend Ariana in this case are really going to attack the damages here. There’s no question that Rachel suffered some emotional distress. She had to check into a rehab facility. But I think what the lawyers will argue is that this was all Rachel’s own doing because of this affair or previous substance abuse problems. And any harm she suffered, it wasn’t because of anything Tom or Ariana did. It was because of Rachel’s own doing. So I can see the case being defended on that ground.”

Leviss’ rep responded to Rahmani’s commentary on Saturday, March 2. “This lawyer, who doubles as a soapbox attorney providing free services for publicity, previously urged Rachel to apologize for Scheana [Shay]’s admitted assault,” Leviss’ rep said in a statement to Us. “Now, he’s engaging in victim-shaming, potentially worsening mental health repercussions for survivors. Publicly not supporting victims sets a concerning example that isn’t good for business.”

Rahmani represented Shay after an altercation with Leviss in March 2023. Shay denied punching Leviss but admitted to pushing her after Leviss grabbed Shay’s wrist.

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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