Former CBS 3 anchorman Larry Mendte pleaded guilty in federal court to hacking into his former co-anchor's computer.
After the hearing, Mendte made a public statement about his actions and said he began accessing Alycia Lane's e-mails after ending a "flirtatious, unprofessional and improper relationship" with her.
Mendte said he ended the relationship after his wife read e-mails that he and Lane had exchanged.
"I then immediately stopped having long dinners with Alycia, staying out late with Alycia and I stopped allowing her to come into my office every day to do her makeup," Mendte said. "The relationship that was once close quickly turned into a personal feud."
Mendte said he found e-mails that Lane had sent to the stations' general manager "undermining" him. Lane left the e-mails on the screen of the computer she used at work, Mendte said.
"I then started looking at other e-mails with passwords I learned when Alycia asked me to help set up her work retirement account, a private stock account, and when she showed me personal e-mails," Mendte said.
Mendte admitted in court to accessing Lane's home computer more than 500 times this year.
"I started seeing things that might be of interest to the press and I passed some of them on," Mendte said. "I was getting some of the information from her e-mail. It was wrong. I admit it was wrong. I make no excuses for my behavior."
Paul Rosen, Lane's attorney, said he was shocked by Mendte's statement. He said the relationship never happened.
"This is a man who is sick," Rosen said. "This is a man who was obsessed with taking this woman down in both the public and her private life."
Prosecutors said Mendte used some of Lane's personal e-mail to publicly embarrass her. Investigators confiscated Mendte's home and office computers back in May.
"The text of those e-mails was found on Mr. Mendte's computer and ended up in the After 6 gossip section of the New York Daily News," Michael Levy, assistant U.S. attorney.
Mendte admitted in court to trying to sabotage Lane's New York criminal case. Lane was arrested on charges that she allegedly assaulted a New York police officer in December 2007.
"Mr. Mendte was reading the e-mail between herself and her attorneys about this New York criminal case and leaking them to the press," Levy said.
Levy said he believes Mendte mailed an anonymous letter to the New York district attorney calling Lane a liar.
"The anonymous letter said, 'Don't believe her when she says she does community service. She only does it when she's forced to do it,'" Levy said.
Mendte is scheduled to be sentenced in November. He is expected to get between zero to six months in jail.
Several of Mendte's friends and relatives attended the court hearing.
"I love him," said Marilyn Mendte, his sister. "He's a good man and did a lot for the community."
Mendte's son also attended the hearing.
"I just hope the city doesn't forget what good he's done," the son said.