WHSV, Reporter, Sued for $1.1 Million in Defamation Suit

By Mark Joyella 

A Virginia real estate agent is suing Harrisonburg ABC affiliate WHSV and one of the station’s reporters for $1.1 million in a defamation lawsuit, reports the Staunton News Leader. The Realtor, Gary Mitchell claims the station, and reporter Khiree Stewart falsely implicated him in a Craigslist scam that targeted home buyers:

Previews of the story reportedly began airing May 23 at 5 a.m. According to the lawsuit, the previews prominently featured a real estate “for sale” sign with Mitchell’s name, telephone number and his company name. A caption immediately below a picture of Mitchell’s sign read, “Woman Tries To Buy Home and Finds the Seller Was a Con,” the lawsuit states.

When the story first aired, Stewart repeatedly referred to it as a “for-sale scam” while showing footage of Mitchell’s sign, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit argues Mitchell was the agent for the home, but had no involvement in the scam. WHSV’s general manager, Tracey Jones, told the News Leader “our intention is to defend ourselves vigorously against the lawsuit because we believe the lawsuit does not have merit.”