District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg will remain in her position as the top felony prosecutor in Travis County, visiting Judge David Peeples ruled Wednesday.
Lehmberg hugged her supporters in the courtroom after the decision was read, shedding tears.
In closing arguments, Jim Collins, an assistant county attorney prosecuting the case, argued that keeping Lehmberg in office would harm the public interest. He said Lehmberg had a pattern of lying and was not managing her problems with alcohol.
On April 12, when she was arrested for drinking and driving, she was so drunk she could not walk and did not know where she was, Collins said. But it was not her single instance of intoxication, he said, pointing to receipts from Twin Liquors that he said showed she had spent about $8 on vodka a day.
“It is nothing else but by the grace of God that we’re here for a removal hearing and not a funeral,” Collins said. Later he said, “She lies even under oath — mostly she lies about what she drinks.”
But Lehmberg’s attorney, Dan Richards, argued that the state had not proved its case. Lehmberg had pleaded guilty within a week of her arrest and served her punishment. She was seeking treatment and her duties had never been affected, Richards said.
“I am a believer in redemption. I am a believer in Ms. Lehmberg,” Richards said. “And I am a believer in recovery.”
Not the most compelling argument I’ve ever heard, but it worked. I have no idea how much of a running punchline she may be in Austin, but I never thought she committed a firing offense, and I thought she was right to stand her ground against Rick Perry. She’s already said she won’t run again in 2016, so here’s hoping she can get her personal life in order and rehab her image between now and then. In the meantime, we’ll wait to hear more from the special prosecutor who is investigating Rick Perry in regard to the veto threat. Isn’t the term of that grand jury up around now?