by EVAN SMITH
The embattled district attorney of Travis County, Rosemary Lehmberg, whose April 12 arrest for driving under the influence raised questions about her possible resignation, apologized Saturday in an open letter to her constituents — and insisted she hopes to complete her term in office.
Lehmberg, who is serving a 45-day sentence in Travis County Jail, sent word of the letter across the Internet via her Facebook page. Jenni Lee, a reporter for Austin’s Fox affiliate, posted on Lehmberg’s Facebook page that a spokesman for the Travis County Sheriff’s Office told her the DA doesn’t have Internet access behind bars. Lee speculated that the letter may have been dictated over the phone.
Lehmberg’s letter was published on her website, rosemarylehmberg.com.
To the citizens of Travis County:
I understand many have commented both in support of and against my returning to office. I would like to speak for myself and this is the only form of communication available to me at this time.
I apologize to all of you. There can be no anger directed at me – or disappointment in me – greater than my own. And, I neither believe nor expect that any words written or speech given can possibly convey the magnitude of the shame I feel for breaking the law and therefore, the trust with the people I serve and the community I love.
My sincere apologies to the arresting officers and to the entire law enforcement community with whom I have worked side-by-side for 37 years and for whom I have always had great respect. After my arrest, I failed to act properly and I failed to show the respect that those law enforcement professionals deserve. For my misbehavior and disrespect toward them, I am truly sorry. I appreciate greatly their patience, civility, and professionalism.
I also owe an apology to the staff at the Travis County Jail. Their jobs are always difficult, and some of my behavior that night made their jobs even more difficult. And, while I have received no special treatment while in jail, I have been treated with respect and courtesy.
My apologies to those who have supported me in the past and through this very difficult time. I have been fortunate to have the backing of both Republicans and Democrats. There is no room for partisanship in the District Attorney’s office.
And, most of all, my apologies to this community. My life, like yours, is full of victories and defeats, highs and lows, joy and sadness, shining moments and stunning mistakes. I think you know where this moment lies.
Last, my sincere apologies to the staff of the District Attorney’s office. I know this experience has created anxiety and concern, but I also know them to be dedicated public servants who consistently put their own needs aside to serve the greater good.
It was both my choice and responsibility to plead guilty and to accept the punishment meted out by the court before I took any other action. To do otherwise never occurred to me.
There are three things I want you to know.
First and foremost, I take the offense of driving while intoxicated seriously. There are hundreds of reasons that lead up to a single event in our lives – but no excuse for driving while intoxicated.
Secondly, upon my release, I will continue to seek professional help and guidance. I know that I need help understanding and treating the cause of this behavior. For that reason, I am making arrangements for further professional assessments and pledge to follow all recommended treatment as soon as I have served my jail term.
And, third, I must deal with the civil issues facing me. Some of that situation is out of my hands. But I can assure you I will address the issues in a forthright and honest manner.
As others have stated, I have never planned to seek a third term and will not. It is my hope to complete my term in office to complete the work we (my dedicated professional staff and I) started four years ago. I am proud of the work we have done from this office over the last 37 years and I hope to have the opportunity to continue that service.
I offer my deepest regret and most sincere apology and seek forgiveness from the people of Travis County.
EVAN SMITH is chief executive officer of The Texas Tribune where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Tribune and the San Marcos Mercury.Email | Print