As bullets whiz by, Lane saga is 'so trite'

Larry Mendte, who won two New York Emmys Sunday, accompanied ex-U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon to Libya.
Larry Mendte, who won two New York Emmys Sunday, accompanied ex-U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon to Libya.
Posted: April 07, 2011

VETERAN newscaster Larry Mendte was back in the spotlight this week after a tabloid reported on juicy details that have emerged from former co-anchor Alycia Lane's civil lawsuit against him and CBS Broadcasting.

Tiffany jewelry and bras without blouses were some of the tidbits revealed in the broadcasters' depositions.

But from where Mendte stands in Tripoli, Libya - reporting on former U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon's attempts to broker a deal with Moammar Gadhafi - the media frenzy back home "seems so trite," he said by phone yesterday.

"It's so small in comparison to what's going on here," Mendte said in an exclusive interview with the Daily News. "I'm getting to be a part of some amazing things . . . .

"I moved on, or at least I'm trying to," he said from his hotel room. The balcony overlooks the empty Port of Tripoli, a reflection of the U.S. embargo, he said.

Reporting for WPIX-TV in New York City and its 30 sister stations, Mendte said: "I'm seeing this all from the inside. It is amazing to me how these monumental events are very personal. It has to do with human beings and human emotions."

Mendte, who won two New York Emmys on Sunday for his PIX11 commentaries, added: "The stage is bigger. The stakes are bigger."

Mendte, a Delaware County native, asked Weldon, who represented the county, if he could join the former congressman on the trip.

Weldon, now a lobbyist, was once chief strategic officer for Defense Solutions, an Exton firm that had proposed the sale of arms to Tripoli in 2008, according to Wired.com. He was the first "non-Libyan" board member of the Gadhafi Foundation.

Mendte left Sunday for Paris, and then Tunisia, where he and Weldon's delegation drove three hours to Tripoli. He said he expected to meet Gadhafi in the next few days. Mendte said he had seen or heard little gunfire in the Libyan capital until last night, when he could hear "bullets going past the hotel window."

"It got pretty crazy here for a little bit," he said. But for Libyans in the city, "life just went on. Cars kept driving. Nobody pulled over. It's common."

Back home, the civil suit still looms. Depositions that were published this week offered new details of the Mendte-Lane saga.

Mendte testified that the pair first kissed inside her apartment in 2004 when she came out of her bedroom in her bra but no blouse, according to the New York Post.

Lane said in January that she spurned Mendte's unwanted advances and called him a "sociopathic narcissist." Lane, however, had previously admitted to FBI agents in June 2008 that she accepted a Tiffany platinum necklace from Mendte in December 2003 and that the relationship had become "affectionate."

And from December 2003 through March 2004, they "kissed approximately four to five times with a regularity of approximately once every three weeks," the court document said.

Jury selection in the civil suit starts next month.

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