Philadelphia newscaster fired amid e-mail scandal
Posted 6/23/2008 9:45 PM | Comment | Recommend E-mail | Save | Print |
By Dan Robrish, Associated Press Writer
PHILADELPHIA — The TV station that fired newscaster Alycia Lane after several embarrassing off-camera incidents fired her former co-anchor Monday, nearly a month after his computer was seized in a federal investigation of allegations that someone leaked Lane's e-mail.
CBS affiliate KYW-TV's decision to fire Larry Mendte came days after Lane filed a lawsuit claiming, among other things, that keeping Mendte on the payroll amounted to sex discrimination.
A statement from the Philadelphia station said that Mendte's termination "was based on an independent investigation conducted by CBS." Station spokeswoman Joanne Calabria said Monday that she could not elaborate on what the investigation found.
FBI agents searched Mendte's home and seized his computer in May as part of an investigation into a possible breach of Lane's personal e-mail account, lawyers for Mendte and Lane have said. Lane began to suspect this year that her e-mail was being accessed and forwarded to news outlets that have covered her career and social life.
Mendte's lawyer, Michael A. Schwartz, said his client would continue to cooperate with authorities.
"We look forward to a prompt resolution of their investigation," Schwartz said. "We also fully expect that Larry will resume his broadcasting career."
Mendte and Lane anchored the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts from September 2003 until Lane was fired in January shortly after she was arrested following a confrontation with New York City police. Lane was also previously the target of critical news coverage after it was reported she had e-mailed photos of herself in a bikini to married NFL Network sports anchor Rich Eisen.
Lane's lawsuit, which was filed Thursday, also alleged that the station maliciously damaged her reputation. The station released a statement Friday saying Lane's allegations are not true and that it will defend itself vigorously in court.
KYW's statement regarding Mendte's status was released after business hours Monday.
Mendte, 51, who is married to local Fox news anchor Dawn Stensland, joined the station in July 2003 after several years at the local NBC affiliate. He previously co-hosted "Access Hollywood" and worked at Chicago's WBBM-TV, KFMB-TV in San Diego and WABC-TV in New York, according to his station biography.
A message left for Lane's lawyer, Paul Rosen, also was not immediately returned.