Email Scandals, Lawyer of the Day, Racism, Screw-Ups, Sexism

Lawyer of the Day: Chuck Rosenthal

Chuck Rosenthal District Attorney Charles Rosenthal Fatal Overdose Above the Law blog.JPGWe love tales of misbehaving DAs. And this one is a doozy. From the Houston Chronicle:

New e-mails released Tuesday show District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal sent and received racist jokes and strategized with political consultants and colleagues about his re-election campaign on his county e-mail account.

Also within the correspondence obtained Tuesday by the Houston Chronicle were numerous sexually explicit images. It was unclear, however, if Rosenthal ever forwarded those files.

Those were just for his personal wank collection.

Among e-mails that concerned Woodfill were video clips of nudity and sex acts and a racist joke forwarded by Rosenthal that compares former President Bill Clinton to a black man. The e-mail says Clinton played the saxophone, smoked marijuana and gets a check from the government each month.

Pot always struck us as more of a white person’s drug, but whatever.

Also included within the e-mails is heavy traffic between Rosenthal and Sam Siegler, Rosenthal’s physician and the husband of Kelly Siegler, who is running for district attorney. In one e-mail from Sam Siegler to Rosenthal, an attached video shows women having their breasts exposed after men forcibly pulled down their blouses in public. The video called the act “sharking.”

Kelly Siegler dismissed her husband’s e-mails. “He cusses like a sailor and his sense of humor is crude, to put it mildly,” she said. “It’s his computer and what he does at work is his business. He’s the boss.”

Stand by your man, Kelly. As long as there’s no kiddie porn in those emails, it’s all good.
Oh, and Rosenthal also sent “intimate e-mails to his executive secretary.” More details, after the jump.

Some background on how this email scandal erupted:

The 860 e-mails are part of a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for a 2001 incident lodged by plaintiff’s attorney Lloyd Kelley.

Rosenthal said 130 were privileged and should not be produced. Those e-mails, filled with affectionate love notes from Rosenthal to executive secretary Kerry Stevens, were mistakenly released by U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt.

Whoops! Even federal judges make mistakes. And we don’t pay them enough to expect them to safeguard privileged documents — that’s why junior associates earn more.

[O]ther e-mails in the district attorney’s office provide a glimpse of a possible ongoing attitude taken towards women. An e-mail from division chief Joe Owmby to general counsel Scott Durfee says, “we need to include some hot interns.”

No big deal. Who doesn’t take hotness into account when hiring interns? See, e.g., Kumari Fulbright (the Arizona beauty queen who stands accused of kidnapping, who served as an intern to a federal judge).
More e-mails emerge in Harris County DA scandal [Houston Chronicle]
More damning e-mails uncovered in DA’s office []

(hidden for your protection)

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