THE FIRST thing that strikes you when you watch the deposition of New York City Police Officer Bernadette Enchautegui is that she is as beautiful as she is credible. The young policewoman with movie-star looks is the officer who says that an intoxicated Alycia Lane "clawed" her face in the middle of a New York City street just before Christmas 2007.
I thought of Bernadette and other women, like me, who feel victimized by Alycia Lane, when I read Buzz Bissinger's attack on my husband, Larry Mendte: a blatant attempt to pollute potential jurors on the first day of jury selection in the civil suit filed by Buzz's "friend" against CBS and Larry. Buzz, I forgive you. Better middle-age married men than you have done something stupid because of their feelings for Alycia Lane.
In your impassioned rant, void of facts, you made an ironic "call" for better journalism in covering the case. It is the one thing we can agree on. As a wife who believes that her successful TV career was collateral damage in an orchestrated media campaign against my husband, I could match your passion. Instead, I will answer your "call." Here are the facts, all public record.
Dec. 16, 2007. 2 a.m. Manhattan. Officer Enchautegui testified under oath that she was trying to keep an intoxicated Lane from putting a camera so close to her partner's face as he tried to get an "irate big man" back into his taxi that she thought that Lane was going to hit him. She said, "Back off, I'm a police officer." Then she alleged that Alycia said: "I don't give a f--- who you are. I'm a reporter, you dyke bitch." Officer Enchautegui says that she held up her badge and said, "Are you serious? . . . Is this how you treat the police?" Enchautegui says that Lane ignored orders and deliberately swung, clawing and marking her face.
It was "a direct result of the incident in New York" that caused CBS 3 to fire Lane. Those aren't my words. That's a quote from Lane. She was emphatic that she was fired because of the incident, repeating it six times, under oath, during a 2008 deposition while suing New York.
I should point out that Alycia denied hitting Enchautegui and using the language attributed to her, and says that she didn't even know that she was a police officer - even though two officers and their sergeant say that they told Alycia that they were police, while displaying badges and flashing their lights.
So you see, Buzz, it's not just Alycia versus Larry, but Alycia versus the NYPD and even Alycia versus Alycia.
When she and her attorney first spoke with the FBI on the record about my husband, she told them they "never had anything other than a professional relationship," the FBI says. But federal documents show the FBI investigated and found evidence suggesting there was a romance, and the feds confronted her in June 2008, when she changed her story and admitted to a "relationship" with my husband that included kissing. In her most recent deposition, Alycia claims the FBI got some of their details wrong.
In that same deposition, Alycia admits that she wants to make Larry pay financially.
Officer Enchautegui knows all too well that money is always on Alycia's mind."Do you know how much I make?" Lane said, according to Enchautegui. "Do you know who I know?"
The "who" turned out to be former Gov. Ed Rendell, who says that Alycia contacted him after her arrest. It's a call that Alycia denies making.
So the list grows. There are more names to add, but I don't have the space or the time. They will be there if this case ever goes to trial. And so will I, as it is also Alycia versus me, "The Good Wife versus The Other Woman."
It is important to point out that my husband's story has never changed from the time I confronted him six years ago. I love Larry. Our family is proud of the work he has done in New York to help 9/11 first-responders. Larry will soon be given a Humanitarian Award from an NYPD organization. Quite a contrast.
Buzz, I know it is difficult to see facts about your "special friend" through the fog of your middle-age crisis. But I felt it important to present them to you anyway. After the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a stay in the civil case and foiled your dastardly plan to taint the jury, I went home to care for my two young children. Alycia flew home to her big anchor job in Los Angeles and her near-million-dollar home in Hollywood Hills. And, knowing what I know, I echoed the feelings of Bernadette Enchautegui to both you and your friend Alycia: "Are you serious?"
Dawn Stensland Mendte is the wife of newsman Larry Mendte; she was news anchor at Fox 29 from 2001 through 2009 and has also worked at CBS 3 and elsewhere.