O'Donnell threatens to sue station over video

Campaign manager demands WDEL turn over interview footage; assumed questions would not be videotaped

Published October 27, 2010 9:32PM (EDT)

Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell's campaign threatened to crush a radio station with a lawsuit if it posted video of an interview with the tea party favorite on the Internet.

During the interview Tuesday on WDEL-AM, O'Donnell snapped her fingers and beckoned a spokesman to her side after the host of "The Rick Jensen Show" pressed her on how she would have handled the New Castle County budget differently from her Democratic opponent Chris Coons, who is the executive of the state's largest county.

Jensen told The Associated Press that O'Donnell said after the interview that she would sue if the video was released. O'Donnell campaign manager Matt Moran then called WDEL general manager Michael Reath, demanding the station turn over the video and threatening to crush the station with a lawsuit if it did not comply.

"He accused us of creating a story to garner ratings because we must be hurting since the (Philadelphia) Phillies were no longer on the air," Reath said, adding that Moran accused Jensen of "grandstanding."

After viewing the video, which the station provided to the campaign before posting it Tuesday night, O'Donnell's campaign attorney called WDEL's attorney and was very apologetic, Reath said.

O'Donnell spokesman Doug Sachtleben, who was in the studio during the interview, said Wednesday that her camp tried to find out before the questions whether it would be videotaped and, after not getting a clear answer, assumed it would not be.

"It was more of an issue of whether or not they were forthright with us," he said.

Reath noted that before the interview began -- when O'Donnell, her sister, and Sachtleben were in the studio -- a video technician came in to adjust the cameras and microphones.

The Wilmington station said it routinely posts audio and video of interview segments on it website, and that a September appearance by O'Donnell had been recorded and posted on the web.


Associated Press writer Ben Evans in Wilmington contributed to this report.

By Randall Chase

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