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February 16, 2008

Disgraced prosecutor blames prescription drugs for email indiscretions

Former Harris County district attorney Charles Rosenthal blames prescription drugs for his penchant for exchanging embarrassing emails with his office account and attempting to destroy the evidence:

HOUSTON — Besieged by an e-mail scandal and perjury accusations, Texas’s most powerful prosecutor resigned on Friday, saying that a combination of prescription drugs had “caused some impairment in my judgment.”

The resignation of the prosecutor, District Attorney Charles A. Rosenthal Jr. of Harris County, the state’s busiest criminal jurisdiction, ended removal proceedings by the Texas attorney general.

It was a relief to fellow Republican leaders who last month quashed Mr. Rosenthal’s bid for a third term.

Mr. Rosenthal, a prosecutor here since 1977, did not mention the new suit in his statement.

“Although I have enjoyed excellent medical and pharmacological treatment,” he said, “I have come to learn that the particular combination of drugs prescribed for me in the past has caused some impairment in my judgment.”

He said he was under “a different regimen of therapy” and was concentrating on “the restoration of my health.” Mr. Rosenthal had not previously made an issue of medical problems. [NYT]

How ironic that some of the most notorious material found on the DA's office computer came from his personal physician, Dr. Sam Siegler. For example:

The documents do indicate the sender of one video file: It’s from a Web site showing unsuspecting women getting their clothes ripped off on public streets. The sender was Dr. Sam Siegler, Rosenthal's personal physician, friend and the husband of Assistant District Attorney Kelly Siegler. She is now a Republican candidate for district attorney.

“I didn't intend for it to be offensive. I didn't e-mail anybody that I thought would be offended by it,” Dr. Siegler told 11 News. [KHOU]

It's not clear whether Siegler prescribed the drugs that Rosenthal now blames for his downfall.

The email record shows that Rosenthal also used his office email to campaign for reelection.

The DA's dirty laundry was aired when Harris County was hit with a federal civil rights lawsuit and Rosenthal had to turn over his correspondence.

Last December, a federal judge mistakenly unsealed some of those emails...

Rosenthal is currently facing a contempt of court hearing for allegedly deleting some emails that had been subpoenaed.

[HT: Longtime Rosenthal-watcher, Grits for Breakfast]

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Comments

The old "Twinky Defense."

Onde of the most often made mistakes is confusing "explaining" with "excusing". He explains that drugs are at the root of his behaviour. However, this is no excuse.

It gets even better, Lindsay. His personal physician's wife is one of Rosenthal's top prosecutors and the leading candidate for the GOP nomination to replace him. You just couldn't make this stuff up.

“I didn't intend for it to be offensive. I didn't e-mail anybody that I thought would be offended by it,” Dr. Siegler told 11 News. [KHOU]

I... wow. Sure, it's videos of degrading sexual assault for sexual pleasure. but I didn't mean to show anyone who might be offended by it. I wonder if they'd accept that excuse from people sharing child porn. "Look, I didn't take that photo, and I didn't mean to show it to anyone who didn't want to see it. No harm no foul right?"

Party of morality my fuzzy ass.

What is with these people? Do they think they are aristos and the rules don't apply to them? Stuff them all in real jails. For real time.

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