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Mendte pleads guilty

Former CBS3 anchor Larry Mendte pleaded guilty this morning in U.S. District Court to hacking into the personal e-mail of onetime colleague Alycia Lane.

Former CBS3 anchor Larry Mendte pleaded guilty this morning in U.S. District Court to hacking into the personal e-mail of onetime colleague Alycia Lane.

During a brief court hearing in Philadelphia, Mendte pleaded guilty to a single felony count. Federal prosecutors agreed not to make any recommendation of whether Mendte should be sentenced to prison though U.S. District Judge Mary McLaughlin still would be free to impose such a sentence.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Mendte could face a maximum of six months in prison.

Mendte had no comment as he emerged from the courtroom, but his wife, Fox29 anchor Dawn Stensland, said, "I love my husband, and he's a good man."

During the 35-minute proceeding, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Levy recounted the government's evidence and said that Mendte hacked into Lane's email accounts more than 500 times between January and May of this year.

"To your knowledge, is everything he said accurate and correct?" asked McLaughlin.

"Yes," replied Mendte, who was in court with his defense attorney Michael Schwartz.

Mendte told the judge that he was "a little nervous, your honor, but I feel okay" as she sought to make sure that Mendte wanted to plead guilty and was legally competent to do so.

He said that he has "seen a therapist since this happened" and has been prescribed Ativan but rarely takes it.

Mendte had plenty of support in the courtroom.

In addition to his wife, a dozen or so family members lined the front row of the courtroom.

Mendte, 51, was charged last month with a single felony count of accessing e-mail without authorization.

Federal prosecutors alleged that Mendte logged into Lane's personal accounts about 537 times between January and May 26 from his home computer, from a computer at his vacation home and from a computer at work.

He was fired in June, three and a half weeks after FBI agents seized his home computer during the investigation.

Lane, meanwhile, was fired in January after her arrest in New York for allegedly hitting a cop, though the charge was later dropped. She has a lawsuit pending against the station.

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