A longtime Capitol reporter was arrested for talking on the phone in the State Senate lobby. Daily News reporter Ken Lovett was released without charges after Governor Andrew Cuomo intervened.
The State Senate has a placard forbidding cell phone use in the Senate lobby, but the rule is universally ignored. The sign does not mention criminal penalties for non-compliance. The Senate was not in session Lovett was talking on his phone and arrested when a Senate guard called for the assistance of a state trooper.
The longtime Albany reporter was taken to the State police substation at the Capitol complex, where
Governor Cuomo intervened once he learned of the incident.
Cuomo joked that he was representing the journalist as his official lawyer, pro bono.
“Nothing trumps the freedom of the press,” Cuomo said.
The governor did not comment on the behavior of the state police, which he leads, saying he did not know the exact details of what happened. A spokesman for the State Senate Majority Leader did offer an apology, though. Spokesman Scott Reif says “ a reporter was asked to comply with a rule prohibiting the use of a cell phone in the Senate lobby. He refused”. Reif says the “incident escalated quickly” and that Lovett, unfortunately, was detained by the State Police. Reif says the Senate requested that the reporter be released immediately and “very much regret the incident”.