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A kiss & tell filing from Larry Mendte

Disgraced TV anchor Larry Mendte, who pleaded guilty to one felony count of cyber-spying on his onetime co-anchor Alycia Lane last year, is trying to rewrite history.

Larry Mendte and Alycia Lane joke around on the set in 2003. (Staff File Photo)
Larry Mendte and Alycia Lane joke around on the set in 2003. (Staff File Photo)Read more

NOTE: This is an updated version of a story published in early editions of the Daily News, revised to clarify the source of FBI statements.

Disgraced TV anchor Larry Mendte, who pleaded guilty to one felony count of cyber-spying on his onetime co-anchor Alycia Lane last year, is trying to rewrite history.

Yesterday, in a federal motion attacking his sentence, Mendte claimed that he had been promised that he'd be charged with a misdemeanor, even though he testified before U.S. District Judge Mary McLaughlin in November that there were no promises attached to his guilty plea.

In a 72-page motion with attachments, his attorney, Julia Morrow, cited details from a June 11, 2008 FBI interview in which Lane said that she and Mendte "kissed" and that he bought her an $800 platinum necklace from Tiffany's after they became "affectionate" at CBS 3 in December 2003.

According to the interview, Mendte and Lane "kissed approximately four or five times" about once every three weeks between December 2003 and March 2004.

That was four or five kisses spaced over four months - which occurred four years before Mendte began hacking into Lane's e-mails more than 500 times and leaking stories to the media.

"The relationship never got to the point of touching bodies," wrote Morrow in the motion, quoting from an attached FBI interview with Lane.

"Whatever happened years ago is no excuse for his crimes," said Lane's attorney, Paul Rosen, who has sued Mendte.

Lane broke off the relationship in March 2004, according to the June 11, 2008, FBI interview. Yet, Mendte, in another lawsuit, claimed that it continued to January 2005, when his wife confronted him about the relationship.

"It's sad that he keeps doing this to poor Dawn," said Rosen, referring to Mendte's wife, Fox 29 news anchor Dawn Stensland. "He cannot get rid of his obsession with Alycia. He is so starved for publicity."

Morrow argued that the goverment used information from a "proffer" - an off-the-record meeting in which Mendte admitted his wrongdoing to the feds - to charge him unfairly with a felony. However, in a June 30 e-mail to Mendte's then-attorney Michael A. Schwartz - attached to yesterday's motion - then-assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Levy wrote: "We had all of the facts . . . independent of any proffer.

"If all that Mendte had done was look at Ms. Lane's e-mail, as creepy as that would be, it would be a misdemeanor," wrote Levy, now interim U.S. attorney.

"It is the publication of private and privileged information, coupled with a malicious purpose, that converts this case to a felony in my view," he added.

"Mendte's invasion of Ms. Lane's privacy was monumental," wrote Levy, citing how Mendte accessed her e-mail 500 times from January into May 2008.

A month after his November sentencing, Mendte filed a complaint with the Office of Professional Responsibility of the Department of Justice alleging that the U.S. Attorney's Office reneged on a promise to charge him with only a misdemeanor. Morrow argued that Mendte's former attorney, Schwartz, provided "ineffective assistance of counsel."

"I thought his lawyer did a spectacular job," countered Rosen.

Schwartz "achieved for him a one-count felony where the government did not recommend a sentence," Rosen said.

Schwartz could not be reached for comment.

Mendte has sued the Inquirer, Daily News and others. *