‘Obsessed’ Ex-News Anchor Charged With E-Mail Snooping
Posted Jul 22, 2008 1:50 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
An "obsessed" former colleague of a Philadelphia television news anchor who allegedly illegally hacked into her e-mail and helped get her fired from her job by revealing personal information to others has now been federally charged in the case.
Larry Mendte, 51, also allegedly snooped into ex-colleague Alycia Lane's confidential communications with her counsel, passing such information along, too, in an effort to derail her litigation efforts, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. She has sued her former employer for defamation, and claims that Mendte sought to discredit her at work behind the scenes.
Fired from his own news anchor position at CBS3 last month over his claimed snooping, Mende was charged yesterday with a single felony count of unauthorized access to e-mail, to which he is expected to plead guilty, the newspaper writes. At his scheduled sentencing next month, he could get up to six months in prison.
Mendte shared information that included privileged attorney-client communications between Lane and her counsel "in an attempt to undermine his former colleague's ongoing legal cases," says acting U.S. Attorney Magid. "This case . . . went well beyond just reading someone's e-mail."
The article says Mendte accessed Lane's e-mail 537 times this year, prior to the end of May, sometimes more than 10 times per day.
A lawyer for Lane, Paul Rosen, says Mendte acted out of jealously when her career appeared to be eclipsing his own, pretending to her face to be a friend of Lane, who was some 15 years his junior, while in secret he "methodically set out to destroy his co-anchor's life, both professionally and publicly."
Says Michael Schwartz, Mendte's lawyer: "Larry has been cooperating fully with the investigators. He continues to cooperate and will accept full responsibility for his actions
Both the television station and a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, who apparently may have published articles about Lane based on tips from Mendte, declined to comment.
Philadelphia Daily News: "Mendte faces a felony count"