Travis County DA Pleads Guilty to Drunk Driving, Her Lawyer Makes Strong Statement

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Lehmberg was taken into custody this morning.

Photo credit: Austin-American Statesman



This morning, Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg pleaded guilty to drunk driving. She was sentenced to 45 days in jail and taken into custody immediately. She was also given the maximum $4,000 fine and her license was revoked for 180 days.

On Wednesday, Austin attorney Kerry O'Brien filed suit to remove Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg from office after her DWI arrest last week. “Lehmberg violated the public trust, demeaned her office and created a substantial risk of injury to others,” O'Brien said.

Today, Lehmberg's lawyer David Sheppard defended Lehmberg in a statement that emphasized Lehmberg's admittance to her “terrible mistake” and the fact that she will serve the longest sentence ever handed out, of 45 days. “Rosemary is a woman of her word, she's served this county for 35 years as a valuable public servant, she runs probably the best district attorney's office in the state of Texas if not the nation. This is a terrible mistake on her part but it really should not override the fact that she has accepted responsibility today,” Sheppard writes.

He also revealed that tapes of Lehmberg's initial arrest would be released in the coming days and that “[t]here have been some very serious misstatements and inaccuracies said both in the news media and in a lawsuit about Ms. Lehmberg spitting and kicking at officers. I can categorically tell you that did not happen.”

The Travis County DA's office said that senior staff will take over operations, “the same as when the officeholder is away from the office.”

The Statesman captured video of Lehmberg's sentencing:

Read Attorney David Sheppard's statement below the jump.

Comments from David Sheppard, Attorney for Rosemary Lehmberg

Rosemary Lehmberg entered a plea of guilty, admitting her guilt in this manner.  She stated the day after she was released from jail that she would plead guilty and accept whatever punishment the authorities in this county thought were appropriate.  

That was a sentence of 45 days in jail.  That's not any kind of weekend release or anything like that. That is a 45 day sentence, maximum fine of $4,000 and a license suspension of 180 days.  

That is without doubt the harshest sentence anybody has ever received for a first offense for a DWI in the history of this county.  

Rosemary is a woman of her word, she's served this county for 35 years as a valuable public servant, she runs probably the best district attorney's office in the state of Texas if not the nation.  

This is a terrible mistake on her part but it really should not override the fact that she has accepted responsibility today.  

She has taken the harshest punishment that anybody has ever had for this type of offense and has walked into that jail voluntarily.

All the tapes of this are going to be released to the news media in the next few days.  There have been some very serious misstatements and inaccuracies said both in the news media and in a lawsuit about Ms. Lehmberg spitting and kicking at officers. I can categorically tell you that did not happen.

There will be no further comment from my office on this matter.

 

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Ben Sherman

Ben Sherman has been a BOR staff writer since 2011. A graduate of the University of Texas, Ben has worked on campaigns, in political consulting, and has written for other news outlets like Think Progress. Ben considers campaign finance reform the fundamental challenge of our time because it distorts almost every other issue in American politics.

2 Comments

  1. She should resign
    Lehmberg should resign, and Democrats should accept that, even if state law says that Perry gets to appoint a replacement.

    Especially at her age, one doesn't blow a BAC like that without, sadly, being an alcoholic. And, one doesn't keep doing that unless through refusing to admit that they're an alcoholic.

  2. relevantrupert on

    The only honorable thing to do is step down
    A D.A. with a DUI is a bad thing, regardless of party politics.  

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