MIAMI (CN) – An immigration attorney claims in court that the Latin television network Univision defamed her on its national newscast when it falsely accused her of scamming her clients and causing their deportation.
In a circuit court complaint filed in Miami-Dade County on Dec. 8, plaintiff Mayra Joli says that Univision and its news anchor, Jorge Ramos, wrongfully portrayed her as swindling clients.
Joli says that she has practiced immigration law for over 15 years, and that her clients are mainly Hispanics, who face deportation for a variety of issues, including their entry into the country.
According to the complaint, Univision’s evening news broadcast, “Noticiero Univision,” airs at 6:30 pm and at 11:35 pm, and is geared to a Spanish-speaking audience.
Joli, who is represented by Gonzalo Dorta of Coral Gables, Fla., claims that on Monday Aug. 14, 2017, Univision broadcast a segment on its 6:30 pm newscast in which she was blamed of defrauding and shattering the dreams of Roberto Beristain and Armando Gonzalez because they were deported and, at least for a time, separated from their families.
“The segment went on to state that both men were deported … because [they were] were scammed, swindled and defrauded” by Joli, the complaint says.
Joli says throughout the segment, Univision displayed her photograph on the screen.
According to the complaint, Univision and defendant Jorge Ramos made the defamatory remarks about Joli without first confirming and investigating if the allegations in the segment were true.
The complaint further alleges that Univision and Ramos failed to review the pertinent legal findings and status of Beristain and Gonzalez’ immigrations proceedings, and yet they aired the segment and damaged Joli’s reputation and image as a practicing attorney.
“Univision did not interview people with direct knowledge of the events in question, did not try to interview the plaintiff, nor did Univision review the files of the clients or become familiar with the circumstances surrounding the deportation,” the complaint says.
Joli says that Ramos participated in the editing of the script of the news story and was aware of the content, but he did not investigate or conduct any material inquiry to verify the claims made against her before they were reported on national television.
Joli is seeking compensatory damages on claims of defamation.
Bobby Amirshahi, Senior Vice-President of Univision Communications Inc., said the television station had not been served a complaint as of Monday.
“We will decline making any comment until after we have an opportunity to review any served complaint,” Amirshahi said.