Attorney accused of jailhouse sex with inmate says she was set up

Jessica David claims innocence in exclusive interview with Local 10 News

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Not only didn't she have sex with her client in the main Broward County jail, but she was set up by jail guards, attorney Jessica Mishali claimed to Local 10 News in an exclusive interview.

"That allegation is false," Mishali said of the allegation that led to her being banned from the county’s five jails. "This news made it all over the world. This news was in China. This news was in South America, and the effects are very serious and I was wronged."

The married Mishali said the idea that she would have jailhouse sex with Ysrael Granda, who is charged with attempted murder and other crimes, is not only ridiculous but impossible the way it was described by the jail guard, who claimed she caught the pair having sex in a semi-private attorney interview room at the jail.

Broward Sheriff’s Office corrections Deputy B.A. Jean-Pierre alleged in her report that she walked into the room to see Mishali "bent over at the waist with her skirt raised." Behind her, according to the report, was Granda, whose "body was pressed firmly against Mrs. David’s buttocks area." Jean-Pierre reported that one of Granda’s hands was "at the upper part of her back" with his “other hand holding [Mishali] at the lower part of her back."

Given permission to speak with Local 10 by Granda, Mishali, whose married name is Jessica David, said she and her client were on opposite sides of the table at all times, working on his voluminous case, which involves the alleged attempted murder of Rafael Villafane-Rivero, 42, while he was with the mother of Granda's child. Villafane-Rivero was shot a few weeks later by another man, allegedly as part of a conspiracy involving Granda's brother to erase Villafane-Rivero as a witness in Granda's criminal case. Mishali was adamant that her client is "absolutely" not guilty.

Mishali said it would be inconceivable to attempt to have sex in one of the rooms, as they have large windows on the doors and are checked regularly by deputies. But it’s the description of Granda’s hand positions that she said makes the allegation "impossible."

So why would she be falsely accused? Mishali claims it's because her client, who had been caught with several cellphones in the jail, was set to cooperate in a major BSO contraband investigation involving deputies supplying cellphones to inmates for a profit.

"BSO was extremely interested in working with Mr. Granda, in knowing what Mr. Granda knows," she said.

She said she and Granda, 26, had recently met with high-ranking jail officials regarding the investigation and shared texts between her and the jail's top investigator, Lt. Marques Gibson, in which he wrote that he would "love to know the names of staff who assisted in him getting phones in my jail."

Granda was involved in a similar investigation in Miami-Dade County, where he was housed much of last year after being removed from Broward County for safety concerns. He was returned to Broward County on Jan. 27, Mishali said. That was the same day the sex allegation was made. Her assertion is that the sex allegation was cooked up to discredit Granda, as well as isolate him in the jail.

"It would get rid of him," she said. "I think it would be easy to believe if something like this happened, they would again transfer him out of the county or, at the very least, put him on lockdown, where he has very little access to anyone. And that is, in fact, what happened."

She said she fears for Granda’s safety and said he has been threatened inside the jail by staff members. She has filed a motion asking for a bond hearing, claiming that his cooperation in the contraband investigation puts his life at risk.

"He knows that he is surrounded by people who fear him and hate him and they have all the control," Mishali said.

The BSO confirmed the existence of the contraband investigation but refused to answer any questions about Granda’s involvement as it is ongoing.

But this wasn’t the first allegation made against Mishali regarding her behavior with Granda. When Granda was being housed in Miami-Dade County, jailers complained she spent too much time with him, and there were allegations she dressed inappropriately at times. Mishali admitted that she spent an unusual number of hours with Granda in Miami-Dade County, but she said it was spent working on his complex case.

"Do you have any romantic feelings for Mr. Granda?" asked Local 10 News investigative reporter Bob Norman.

"Mr. Granda and I have an excellent attorney-client relationship, a close attorney-client relationship with a lot of trust," she said.

"You didn't answer the question directly," Norman pressed. "Do you have romantic feelings for Mr. Granda?"

"The answer is no," she said.

In fact, Mishali’s relationship with Granda cost her her job at the state-funded Office of Criminal Conflict and Regional Counsel in January, three weeks prior to the jail sex allegation. The office terminated her employment for "misconduct" involving, in some way, her representation of Granda.

"Did [the Office of Criminal Conflict and Regional Counsel] have any evidence against you?" Norman asked.

"Me being terminated from Regional Counsel is a separate issue," she said. "And that's not what we're here to talk about."

"Were there photos found?" Norman asked.

Mishali didn't answer that question. Her lawyer, Tarlicka Navarro, instead interjected and said, "That has nothing to do with it."

Mishali, who has a 15-month-old son, said her husband is standing behind her and doesn't believe the allegation.

"Anybody loves any type of story about sex, and it’s scary how easy it is for anybody to say anything and then go into the world and ruin your reputation, ruin your profession, try to ruin your life," Mishali said.

"People who watch this, some of them are going to have a hard time believing this was a conspiracy," Norman said.

"I don't really have an interest in convincing anyone," Mishali said. "These allegations simply didn't happen, and I would point them to corruption at the Broward County jail."

She said she intends to sue the BSO for false arrest. She continues to represent Granda in his criminal case and has been allowed back in the jail, only now she must have a glass window separating her from Granda. She said she intends to see the case through -- and make sure he isn't harmed.

"It’s my job to fight for his rights and protect him," she said. "So I won't stop until I feel confident that he is safe."