GOV. RENDELL called troubled anchor Alycia Lane "a friend" but said she "didn't ask me for anything" when she called him Monday morning, a day after her scandalous arrest in Manhattan.
Rendell called 610 WIP's Angelo Cataldi morning radio show and said, "She's too smart to think I'm gonna make a call to get her out of trouble. She wanted someone to hear her side of the story."
The governor did note there are other versions of what happened that need to be heard, with six other witnesses to the altercation, including Lane's disc-jockey boyfriend, Chris Booker, another couple and three plainclothes cops.
Lane, 35, news anchor of CBS3, is accused of punching a police officer in the face and yelling derogatory remarks at her.
Rendell said he wasn't letting Lane off the hook completely. "Does trouble seem to find her?" he asked. "Yeah, from what little I know about her entire life, she's had some difficult times, and I can guess you can say some of them were of her own making.
"But I think she is a very decent person," he said, giving her community service and police fundraisers a plug.
Rendell declined to reveal Lane's version of the story to Cataldi. He told the WIP host he was calling to elaborate on details discussed by Daily News gossip columnist Dan Gross, who'd been interviewed moments earlier on the station, including to clear up the timing of the call, reported earlier as having been made on Sunday night.
Lane's lawyer, David Smith, who has represented "Simple Life" star Nicole Richie and New York publicist Lizzie Grubman, said Lane had been "accosted by several individuals wearing plainclothes."
"They attempted to grab her camera to prevent her from taking photographs of an altercation they [plainsclothes people] were involved in," Smith said. "Miss Lane was shocked to learn after the fact that these individuals were police officers."
New York City cops have a different version.
About 2 a.m. Sunday, the twice-divorced Lane, new love Q102 radio morning host Booker and the other couple were inside a cab, which was behind a slow-moving vehicle containing three plainclothes police officers, police said.
One of the men inside the cab jumped out and ran over to the unmarked police car and, soon afterward, the officers identified themselves, a New York police spokesman said.
A male officer tried to walk the "intoxicated" man back to the cab when Lane began to take pictures, according to the New York County district attorney's complaint. Tenth Precinct Officer Bernadette Enchautegui grabbed Lane's arm, holding the camera, to move it away from the officer's face, the complaint said. Then Lane said, "I don't give a f--- who you are. I am a reporter, you f---ing dyke," the document said.
Station sources said they were shocked to learn that Lane's bosses had been apprised of the arrest by a Daily News reporter who called the station on Sunday.
Her arrest - first reported on Gross' new blog Phillygossip.com - and her alleged words have become part of pop culture and trendy fashion. Alycia Lane parody T-shirts, buttons and stickers have hit the Internet.
NB2 Apparel has an "I'm a F**king TV Reporter, Bitch" T-shirt, and designs from "Free Alycia" to the profane, "I Don't Give A F--- Who You Are, I'm A Reporter, You F---ing Dyke" are available now at cafepress.com.
Meanwhile, CBS3 has drafted a guide for station employees who respond to viewers' phone calls about Lane's arrest, said station spokeswoman Joanne Calabria.
"Please be assured that we take your opinions very seriously and will share them with station management," the guide reads. "As you know, Ms. Lane is currently on leave from the station. CBS3 is in the process of investigating the relevant facts and circumstances and we will take appropriate action once we have given them due consideration." *