Chuck Rosenthal has resigned, effective 3 p.m. today.
In his letter of resignation he writes:
Today, I wrote Governor Perry and tendered my resignation as Harris County District Attorney.
My decision to retire from office was precipitated by a number of things.
The federal court’s release of my private emails around Christmas of last year brought a lot to bear on my wife and children. I have been trying to restore my family as a unit, but the constant media pressure has made that restoration more difficult. I am hopeful that, in my retirement, the media will accord my family the privacy we need to heal.
Although I have enjoyed excellent medical and pharmacological treatment, I have come to learn that the particular combination of drugs prescribed for me in the past has caused some impairment in my judgment.
How does the “impaired judgment” story affect Chuck’s potential perjury / obstruction of justice / tampering with evidence charges? I don’t think “the drugs made me do it” is a legal defense to any of these charges, but I don’t see anyone who believes the story being gung-ho to prosecute Chuck for obstructive conduct that was a result of his impairment.
Dr. Sam Siegler has been described as Chuck’s personal physician; from the emails released back in January it appears that Dr. Siegler’s office was Chuck’s go-to source for prescription meds.
Who prescribed the drugs that impaired Chuck’s judgment? Dr. Sam Siegler?
Who is Dr. Siegler married to? Kelly Siegler.
Whose position is Kelly now running for? Chuck’s.
Did Chuck’s impairment escape the notice of those who worked with him at the DA’s Office? If you realized that he was impaired, why didn’t you speak up? If you realized it and didn’t comment, or didn’t realize it, what does that say about your judgment?
The DA’s judgment is everything. The job of DA is about nothing but judgment. For the past eight years Chuck Rosenthal has been the guy with his finger on the metaphorical button, which in his case is a plunger on a syringe full of pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. Chuck has made decisions that have cost people their freedom and their lives. Do those people get do-overs now that Chuck claims his judgment was impaired?
The resignation letter continues:
The Texas Attorney General’s office has informed my attorney that they will not proceed with a removal action if I resign. Without commenting on the merits of any case the Attorney General may have pursued, to have yet another controversy surround this office is intolerable to me.
Of course the AG wouldn’t proceed with a removal action if Chuck resigned. Does Chuck’s inclusion of this paragraph mean that the AG had informed Chuck’s attorney that he would proceed with a removal action if Chuck did not resign?
Chuck closes his letter with praise for the ADAs:
I am extremely proud of the work that the ladies and gentlemen of this office do for the citizens of Harris County. They have too many cases, are under compensated, and are often unfairly criticized for the hard decisions they make in fulfilling their mandate to see that justice is done.
The residents of Harris County need to appreciate the great work these folks do. As the saying goes, “If I were asked to lead a charge on Hell, I’d want these people in my ranks.”
I expect those ADAs’ response will be something along the lines of “gee, thanks.” Until six weeks ago, they would all probably have followed Chuck on his charge into Hell; most of them now feel like, in the past five weeks, they have.
The big political question now: who gets appointed DA until next January?
If the governor is a pure political hack he’ll anoint one of the Republican nominees — HCRP favorite Lykos or, if Chuck cut a deal before resigning, Siegler. Otherwise he appoints someone who is not already running for the office or leave it in the hands of First Assistant Bert Graham for the next 11 months.