Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg will not face criminal charges regarding her behavior following a DWI arrest in April.
In a complaint filed by her former colleague, former assistant district attorney Rick Reed, Lehmberg’s conduct in jail following her arrest amounted to obstruction of justice and was grounds for removal. A Travis County grand jury chose not to indict the district attorney on any charges.
"I appreciate the careful work of the Special Prosecutor and the Grand Jury and am pleased that this part of the process is completed," Lehmberg said in a statement to media. "My staff and I will continue to stay focused on serving the people of Travis County."
Lehmberg was arrested late on April 13 after a citizen reported seeing witnessed the district attorney’s Lexus swerving into the oncoming traffic and driving for more than a mile in the bike lane in northwest Travis County. Deputies with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office pulled Lehmberg over and arrested her for drunken driving.
Less than a week after her arrest, Lehmberg pleaded guilty to aggravated drunken driving and was sentenced to 45 days in jail, but the district attorney’s behavior in custody raised additional criticism and criminal complaints.
While in the back of the deputy’s patrol car, Lehmberg demanded to have her handcuffs removed and ordered the officer to call “Art” (referring to Art Acevedo, the chief of the Austin Police Department). The deputy informed her that he worked under Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton, to which Lehmberg ordered him to “Call Greg.”
While in custody at the Travis County Jail, employees noted that Lehmberg was uncooperative, kicked her cell door and was placed in a restraint chair. Jailhouse video confirmed the workers’ notes and showed Lehmberg shouting “Call Greg!” many times in custody, again referring to Sheriff Hamilton. The video also shows her threatening the jobs of several workers.
Lehmberg still faces a civil trial which could remove her from office. That trial will be heard by Bexar County District Judge David Peeples.
This grand jury will also choose whether or not to indict Gov. Rick Perry, who faces charges from his threat to defund the Travis County District Attorney Office’s Public Integrity Unit if Lehmberg did not step down. The complaint alleges Perry unlawfully attempted to use his position as governor to fire Lehmberg—something which he cannot do.