PHILADELPHIA – A TV station fired a local anchorwoman who has been off the air since she was charged with striking a New York City police officer.
Alycia Lane "has been released from her contract effective immediately," KYW-TV said in a statement Monday, the day the telegenic brunette was due back on air.
Lane, a passenger in a taxi that was involved in a Dec. 16 traffic dispute, allegedly used a sexual slur against a plainclothes female officer. Lane, 35, has denied the allegations.
KYW, a CBS affiliate, had Lane start her previously scheduled vacation a week early and pulled her from station promotions during her absence.
"After assessing the overall impact of a series of incidents resulting from judgments she has made, we have concluded that it would be impossible for Alycia to continue to report the news as she, herself, has become the focus of so many news stories," station President and General Manager Michael Colleran said in the statement.
Lane, who joined the station in 2003, reportedly earned $700,000 a year as co-anchor of the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts.
One of her attorneys, Paul Rosen, accused KYW of violating her contract, which he said had an unspecified number of years remaining. Lane has not been convicted of any crime, he noted.
"The termination is unfair because Alycia has never had an opportunity to defend against this charge, and tell her side of the story publicly," Rosen said in a statement. "Obviously, on the advice of counsel, Alycia cannot talk about these matters because of the matter that is pending in New York."
Lane has made headlines since arriving from Miami with the nickname "The Latina Bombshell." A Long Island native, she is of Puerto Rican heritage and has been a staple of gossip pages in Philadelphia after two failed marriages.
During her stint in Philadelphia, Lane cried about her first divorce on "Dr. Phil" and e-mailed bikini shots of herself to NFL Network sportscaster Rich Eisen. Eisen's wife intercepted the photos and fired back a tart response, congratulating Lane for her fit physique. An embarrassed Lane called Eisen a longtime platonic friend.
Lane has been married to a minor-league baseball player and later to a North Carolina businessman.
Recent print reports link her romantically with Chris Booker, a local radio DJ who was with her when she was arrested in New York.
Lane and Booker were out with another couple when Lane thrust a camera in the face of a male officer who was trying to get an intoxicated man to return to his taxi, according to the police affidavit and published reports.
When a female officer tried to pull the camera away, Lane allegedly identified herself as a reporter in a profanity-laced tirade in which she used the sexual slur.
Lane further raised eyebrows by calling Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell the next day to discuss the case.
David Smith, Lane's criminal attorney, reiterated Monday that he expects Lane to be exonerated. She has pleaded not guilty and is next due in court on April 3.
"We still maintain that at the end of the criminal case, she'll be vindicated," Smith said.
The station wished her well.
"We wish to make clear that we are not prejudging the outcome of the criminal case against Alycia that is pending in New York," Colleran said in the statement. "We understand that Alycia expects to be fully vindicated in that proceeding. We hope that is the case and we wish her the best in all her future endeavors."