SHORTLY after she was sprung from a New York City jail cell Sunday on charges that she'd sucker-punched a female cop, one of the first priorities of embattled CBS3 anchorwoman Alycia Lane was to get Gov. Rendell's cell-phone number, sources said.
And shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday she called the governor, Rendell's spokesman Chuck Ardo confirmed yesterday, to "make sure he knew her side of the story because he is an opinion-maker and runs around in influential circles."
Asked if the anchor wanted Rendell to lobby any New York law-enforcement or court officials on her behalf, Ardo said, "I think she knew better than to ask him to intervene."
"He will not, he would not, and he has not been asked to," Ardo said about whether Rendell had planned to get involved in Lane's case.
Station sources questioned Lane's journalistic integrity in contacting or seeking assistance from a prominent politician.
Lane's attorney, David Smith, did not return a call from the Daily News for comment. Meanwhile, CBS3 anchor Larry Mendte will fly solo for the rest of the month while his co-anchor, Lane, takes an extra week of vacation following her arrest, a station rep said.
As the Daily News reported yesterday on its PhillyGossip.com blog, Lane was scheduled for time off beginning next week, but due to "the pressing situation" she began her vacation yesterday, said station spokeswoman Joanne Calabria.
While the story made its way onto blogs and media outlets outside Philly - the New York Post featured Lane on its cover and the Associated Press sent the story out across the world - Lane and her attorney vehemently denied the allegations against her.
And CBS3 was not completely walking away from its star anchor just yet.
"We have been in touch with both Alycia and her attorney," the CBS3 statement said. "Both emphatically state that when all of the facts are made public, she will be exonerated. Alycia says that she never struck anyone nor made the disparaging remarks that have been attributed to her."
In addition, the pre-taped CBS3 and CW Philly holiday special hosted by Lane and Mendte, "Celebrate the Season," will air as planned tonight, but Lane may be excised from the program, station sources said.
Lane, 35, was charged with one count of assault with intent to cause physical injury to an officer. She was released on her own recognizance and is expected back in court on April 3.
Lane's attorney, Smith, also said that "Miss Lane never hit or ever said any derogatory comments to anyone."
One thing is not in dispute: Lane and her new beau, Q102 morning host Chris Booker, were in New York over the weekend. The two and an unidentified couple were in a cab riding behind a slow-moving unmarked police car about 2 a.m. Sunday, the New York Post reported.
At some point, Booker jumped out of the taxi and told the plainclothes officers to speed it up, the paper said. The cops identified themselves as police, a NYPD spokesman said.
According to a complainant filed by the New York D.A.'s office, "an intoxicated male" approached one of the officers, who tried to lead him back to the taxi. While doing so, Lane "placed a camera against" the officer's face, prompting the female officer to "grab defendant's arm (holding the camera) in an attempt to move it away from (the officer's) face," the document said.
Lane then said "in substance" to the female cop, "I don't give a f--- who you are. I am a reporter, you f---ing dyke," according to the complainant.
Lane then allegedly punched the female cop in the face. The NYPD plainclothes officer suffered face cuts and was treated at the hospital, New York police said.
The CBS3 news broadcasts and its Web site did not shy away from the story.
Yesterday, nine minutes into the 12 p.m. newscast, CBS3 day anchor Pat Ciarrocchi read a brief news story about Lane and the felony charge she faces. "Alycia categorically denies she made any comment or that she struck the officer," Ciarrochhi said.
CBS3 has received no formal complaints from any gay or lesbian group, although many viewers have expressed concern over the alleged remarks, Calabria said.
Now, that she's out of jail, questions abound regarding Lane's future. Will she return to her news anchoring duties in January? How will the popular co-host be excised from a taped holiday program? Even if she's cleared of these allegations, can Lane's career survive?
Most TV talent contracts contain moral clauses, which, if violated, could void a contract, television-industry experts said.
In the meantime, Booker continues to stand by her side.
The Q102 morning DJ was with Lane when she was released about 5 p.m. Sunday from a Manhattan jail. Booker was a no-show at Q102's Jingle Ball concert Sunday night at the Tweeter Center in Camden featuring Avril Lavigne, Timbaland and Good Charlotte. All Q102 DJs were supposed to be there.
Many were curious to hear if Booker would discuss his sweetheart's arrest on his show yesterday morning, only to learn the show was on a pre-planned vacation this week.
Meanwhile, CBS3 already had been concerned over how Lane would be portrayed in an upcoming Philadelphia magazine profile, even before the most recent chapter in the beauty's sad saga, station sources said. *