In 1994, he was arrested in Hawaii while attempting to cover Bill Gates' marriage. He was booked for investigation of trespassing but the charges were dropped when he agreed to leave the island.
"... I was working as a journalist at the time and I was there [at the mall] as a private citizen," Rensberger said. "I'm very proud of that. I took on these two powerful people and I won. And I'll do the same thing here and donate the proceeds to charity if it comes to that."
He sued Gates and Dole Food Co., which owned most of the island where the wedding was being held, according to an article at the time in the Seattle Times. Rensberger won a partial summary judgment against Gates and Dole Foods. The judge ruled he should have been allowed to film on public property.
As a part of the settlement, Rensberger received letters of apology from both Dole and Gates.
"I have zero interest in taking one dime from the taxpayers of West Virginia," Rensberger said. "If a jury awards any money, I'll donate every dime I win to some organization in Charleston. ... If the mall is guilty, that might be a different matter. I don't know what I would do with that."
Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster said the department filed a complaint about the incident on Rensberger's behalf after the story was first published in the Gazette last week. Police are still looking into what happened, he said.
"The main thing we want to do right now is find some witnesses," he said.
"We have a few that have come forward."
Webster asked that anyone who witnessed the incident call the department at 304-348-6826.
Rensberger said he just wants the charges dropped and for the situation to be over.
"They know they're wrong and I want the charges dropped," he said.
"The more this goes on and the more I have to defend myself, the harder it is to be nice to the police department."
Rensberger said he believes Basford's arrest was unlawful. He said he was never read his rights.
"I also believe he destroyed evidence," Rensberger said. "I believe I took a picture of him and he deleted the image. ... The camera works when I push the button."
Reach Gary Harki at gha...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.