Affair With Mayor Prompts Suspension of Newscaster

Mirthala Salinas interviews Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2006. Telemundo suspended her for conflict-of-interest violations.
Mirthala Salinas interviews Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2006. Telemundo suspended her for conflict-of-interest violations. (By Robert Durell -- Los Angeles Times Via Associated Press)
Associated Press
Friday, August 3, 2007

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 2 -- A Spanish-language newscaster who had an affair with the mayor of Los Angeles has been suspended from her job for two months for violating conflict-of-interest policies, her network said Thursday.

Mirthala Salinas was having a relationship with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa when she announced the news of his separation from his wife of 20 years on Telemundo station KVEA, Channel 52.

Salinas was suspended without pay. The findings of the NBC Universal cable channel's three-week investigation were reported on its national newscast.

"Her reading of copy during newscasts . . . regarding the Mayor's separation from his wife was a flagrant violation of these guidelines," network President Don Browne wrote in a memo to employees.

Messages left with Telemundo and Salinas's representative were not immediately returned.

Salinas, 35, was placed on leave July 5 while her employer investigated whether her romantic relationship with Villaraigosa breached journalistic ethics.

She has said station managers knew of her relationship with the mayor before she announced the news of his breakup. Salinas led into the story by saying, "The rumors were true."


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