Former CBS3 anchor Larry Mendte, who is to be sentenced Monday for hacking into the e-mail of onetime colleague Alycia Lane, tried to snoop on CBS3 meteorologist Doug Kammerer, sources close to the case told The Inquirer.
When Mendte pleaded guilty in August to reading Lane's e-mail 500 times, he explained that he did so because of a "flirtatious, unprofessional and improper" relationship with Lane, but no one suggested that he had tried to spy on anyone else.
The Kammerer facet of the FBI's case was not part of the public record, nor was it mentioned in recent sentencing documents.
Federal guidelines suggest a sentence of zero to six months, making Mendte eligible for a nonjail term, such as home confinement. The fact that prosecutors say Mendte has cooperated fully and honestly during the investigation is expected to weigh heavily in his favor.
Although the evidence related to Kammerer was credible, sources said it was not as strong as that involving Mendte's hacking against Lane. Prosecutors used their discretion and decided not to bring charges related to Kammerer.
Still, FBI agents paid Kammerer a visit during the investigation in the spring and warned him to change his personal and work passwords, sources said.
Mendte's lawyer, Michael A. Schwartz, declined to directly address the Kammerer matter, but said: "From day one, we have cooperated fully with the government. We have provided information it did not know about and Mr. Mendte has accepted full responsibility for his conduct."
Kammerer declined to be interviewed for this article. FBI spokesman J.J. Klaver also declined to comment.
In preparation for Monday's sentencing, Schwartz and prosecutor Michael Levy recently sent sentencing documents to U.S. District Judge Mary A. McLaughlin.
Schwartz urged probation, saying the former anchor has admitted his wrongdoing, suffered a shaming, lost his job, cooperated with the authorities, and taken responsibility.
The prosecutor kept his promise as part of the plea deal to make no recommendation on a specific sentence, though he did indicate that the judge could take into account the emotional harm Mendte inflicted on Lane.
As evidence, Levy cited the "bikini photos," snapshots of Lane and her friends, taken at a beach, that she had sent to sportscaster Rich Eisen, a friend. Mendte tipped the New York Post that Eisen's wife, Suzy Shuster, had seen the photos and had sent Lane a scathing e-mail. The story was splashed in the Post and made headlines worldwide.
The photos were never published, driving speculation about their salaciousness. Levy wrote that he had seen them, and was unimpressed. "One could see identical scenes by walking down any beach in New Jersey in the summer - a group of young women in bathing suits lying on blankets in the sand."
Officials were also troubled by the manner in which Mendte allegedly obtained Lane's passwords - by using a keystroke device - and that he leaked information between Lane and her lawyers about a criminal case in New York. In that case, Lane had been charged with assaulting a police officer, a charge that was later dropped.
Mendte also provided information from Lane's e-mail messages to Dan Gross, the gossip reporter at the Philadelphia Daily News.
Lane has since sued Mendte, CBS3, Gross and the Daily News, which is owned by Philadelphia Media Holdings L.L.C., which also publishes The Inquirer.
In his filing for Monday's sentencing, Mendte's lawyer forwarded to the judge letters from 69 friends, relatives, colleagues, clergy members, and a therapist who began treating Mendte in June.
Dennis Donnelly, a psychotherapist, said Mendte told him that he had been bullied in grade school and was motivated by "the fear of losing his job and his standing in the profession and in the community, rather than hatred or a need for vengeance." He said Mendte was "quite remorseful" and "would never engage in this behavior again."
Schwartz said Mendte has been doing volunteer work, including reading books for the Philadelphia Library for the Blind; coaching for the Police Athletic League; and organizing a volunteer-firefighters parade.
In his memo, Schwartz said Mendte is "a person with imperfections and insecurities, a person who has made a lifelong commitment to helping others, and a person who is full of remorse, seeking forgiveness, and looking for a second chance."
Mendte's wife, Fox29 news anchor Dawn Stensland, wrote what she called "the most difficult and perhaps the most important letter I've ever written." Praising her husband for confessing to what he had done, she said "there was nothing but sadness in our home over this whole case." She added that she hoped that "our family can hold hands around the Thanksgiving table in prayer and give thanks that this federal case did not take 'Dad' away from our home."
Lane has submitted a confidential victim-impact statement that, according to a filing, criticizes Mendte for the public statement he made after his guilty plea, which she believed vilified and further harmed her.
But a decision has not been made if she will present any statement at Monday's sentencing, said her attorney, Paul Rosen.
The prosecutor acknowledged Mendte's charitable side but suggested that his spying - which continued after Lane was fired in January - was the "antithesis of charity."
To demonstrate the depths of Mendte's obsession with Lane, Levy invoked T.S. Geisel's Green Eggs and Ham: "The record has a Dr. Seuss quality, for Mendte checked Ms. Lane's e-mail from his home, from the station, from the Union League and from his vacation home; when he got up in the morning; before he went to bed at night; while waiting for the commercials to finish when he was on the air."
Levy added: "Dr. Jekyll appeared nightly on television; however it is Mr. Hyde who appears before this court to be sentenced."