A longtime Capitol reporter was arrested for talking on the phone in the state Senate lobby. However, New York Daily News reporter Ken Lovett was released without charges after Gov. 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, then 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 Cuomo intervened once he learned of the incident. Cuomo joked that he was representing the journalist as his official lawyer, pro bono.
“Freedom of the press is alive and well in Albany," Cuomo said. "Nothing trumps the freedom of the press."
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 said “a reporter was asked to comply with a rule prohibiting use of a cell phone in the Senate lobby. He refused.” Reif said the “incident escalated quickly” and that Lovett unfortunately was detained by the State Police.
Reif said the Senate requested that the reporter be released immediately and “very much regret the incident.”