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DA Lehmberg Seeking Treatment Following DWI Jail Release

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg says she is attending treatment for a brief time to “deal with the behavior” that led to her drunk driving arrest.

Lehmberg served half of a 45-day jail sentence after pleading guilty to a DWI charge last month.

In a statement sent to news media through her campaign email address, Lehmberg says she’s been evaluated by an unnamed expert – who she says gave her the okay to stay in office following a brief time in treatment.

Lehmberg once again apologized to residents for her “personal mistake” and says she has every confidence that her office will run effectively while she’s seeking help.

Some have called for Lehmberg to step down, while others support her decision to complete her term.

Here is the full statement:

“I am currently seeking professional help on the advice of one of the foremost experts in this region concerning the issues that lead to my behavior the night I was arrested for driving while intoxicated.. He has concluded that I am “fully able to perform [my] duties” as District Attorney of Travis County, I am “not at risk of injuring the public interest in the performance of [my] duties,” and I have a “normal mental status exam.” This expert recommended that I attend treatment for a brief period to deal with the behavior that lead to my arrest. I immediately accepted his recommendation.    
“While I am seeking professional guidance, I will be in contact with my office on a regular basis—just as would any officeholder or department head who received medical treatment or took similar personal leave. John Neal, the First Assistant in the District Attorney’s office, will be in regular contact with me. John is extremely competent and I have every confidence in him. He served as First Assistant in the Travis County District Attorney’s office for over four years, and during his 33-year legal career also served as an elected District Attorney (for Stephens and Young Counties), as Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the State Bar of Texas, and as Division Chief of the Statewide Prosecution Division of the Office of Attorney General. Additionally, our office has a strong management structure, with very experienced, competent division chiefs. The citizens of Travis County can rest assured the office will function effectively while I am receiving this medical assistance.
“Again, I apologize from the bottom of my heart for my personal mistake, and I commit to do everything in my power to deal with the underlying issues and to do the very best I can to serve the citizens of Travis County. I appreciate the many expressions of support, forgiveness, compassion, and patience from so many people."

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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