As Legal Troubles Mount, DA Rosenthal Resigns

Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal has resigned. In a written statement, he blamed a combination of prescription drugs for clouding his judgement. Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports.

Rosenthal's resignation comes as his legal troubles continue to grow. He's already facing an ethics probe by the Texas Attorney General's office over an e-mail scandal. Today, a lawsuit was filed seeking to force Rosenthal from office. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett called for Rosenthal's resignation last month.

"It's just one of those unfortunate circumstances. Mr. Rosenthal had a long career and had given a lot to the people of Harris County. It's a shame that it has to end this way, but I think that he's made the right decision now so that this doesn't continue to keep on dragging on and on and on."   

A replacement for Rosenthal will likely be appointed by Governor Rick Perry, but Perry's office says no resignation letter has been sent from Rosenthal yet. Rice University Political Scientist Bob Stein says he's not surprised Rosenthal stepped-down.

"I think maybe Mr. Rosenthal began to realize that he needed time to attend to his own legal matters. These are not trivial charges. We still have the AG's office investigating and on top of that he's allegedly going to be sued by at least some of these grand jurors. We may think of these things as news stories. To someone like Mr. Rosenthal, they're serious legal matters that he has to attend to and if not hire defense attorneys. He is an attorney himself and has to work on them."  

Rosenthal earlier this year withdrew from his re-election bid. He took office in January of 2001, replacing legendary DA Johnny Holmes.

Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...