MIAMI (CN) – The son of Mexican superstar Juan Gabriel claims Univision defamed his family in a series of reports and is seeking $100 million in damages.
In a complaint filed in the Miami-Dade County circuit court, Ivan Aguilera claims that after his father’s death in August 2016, the family was bombarded with false claims that they were responsible for the singer’s death.
Ivan Aguilera, and his wife, Simona, are Juan Gabriel’s sole heirs.
According to the May 19 lawsuit, in the wake of Gabriel’s death, defendant Consuelo Rosales came forward and claimed that her son, Joao Aguilera, was the star’s long lost son.
“There are obvious incentives for someone to claim that Gabriel was his father after Gabriel is no longer alive to dispute or refute the claim,” the complaint states.
The Aguileras claim Joao decided to litigate his paternity claim in the press, and defendant Univision seized on the story, claiming it as an exclusive.
They also dispute the claims of a defendant named Alberto Gomez, who appeared in the Univision segments and claimed he was Gabriel’s close friend.
The Aguileras say they never heard of him and refute the claims he made on television.
“[Gomez] claims that he believes Gabriel died because of an argument with Ivan. In fact, Gabriel, who was 66 years old, died of natural causes related to heart disease and possibly diabetes,” the complaint states.
They also dispute many of the claims allegedly made against them: That the Aguileras stole money and property from Gabriel, and that they disregarded his wishes and had him cremated after his death.
Consuelo Rosales and Joao Aguilera are said to claimed the cremation was performed to prevent Joao from performing a paternity test that would have proved Gabriel was his father.
In a written statement, the Aguileras’ attorney, Charles Harder, of Harder Mirell & Abrams in Beverly Hills, Calif., said when these defamatory statements were made, the couple was in mourning and also engaged in organizing a public memorial for the singer.
The Aguileras says neither Univision nor its reporter, defendant Borja Voces, fact checked any of the claims of the other defendants before they were broadcast.
If they had bothered to do so, the plaintiffs claim, they would have known they were false.
The Aguileras say they believe Univision paid the other defendants to make the sensational claims to boost the ratings of its television network and the readership of its print publications.
Alberto Aguilera Valadez, better known as Juan Gabriel, was among Latin America’s bestselling singer-songwriters, who toured for 45 years and won many awards, including a posthumous Latin Grammy Award. He died at the age of 66.
A representative of Univision did not respond for a request for comment from Courthouse News.