Allies of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg held a feisty press conference Thursday. They attacked recent media reports of Lehmberg's arrest. They felt the videos taken during her DWI arrest and jail stay were unfair.
"We are here today to support Rosemary," said Attorney Betty Blackwell.
On Thursday Blackwell's client in need of defense was Rosemary Lehmberg. Surrounded by other attorneys, Blackwell made a case as to why Lehmberg should and deserved to remain in office despite her recent DWI conviction.
"She has admitted that she made a mistake. Alcohol affects people poorly. She made a mistake. It was one night in a life of 35 years of service," Blackwell said.
Shortly before the press conference, Lehmberg's allies filed a memorandum with 175 signatures on it in opposition to Lehmberg's removal from office.
Blackwell asked the public to measure Lehmberg by her entire career. She pointed out that Lehmberg founded the Travis County Children's Advocacy Center for child abuse victims and was named best lawyer for children's issues.
After video of Lehmberg's traffic stop and jail stay were made public, Austin Police Association President Wayne Vincent said Lehmberg could no longer maintain credibility with law enforcement. Further stating that she treated jail staff and arresting deputies as inferior.
Blackwell refuted that.
"She has worked with them for more than 35 years. She knows how to rebuild that. She knows how to make that bridge work. She has been a forefront for the police department. She will rebuild that trust," Blackwell said.
Blackwell announced that Lehmberg would not seek re-election and would enter a treatment facility upon release from jail.
"She is asking that she be allowed to continue as your district attorney and we are here in support of that saying that is what the citizens of Travis County want," Blackwell said.
But is it? The day after Lehmberg was arrested, 68 percent of our viewers told us Lehmberg should resign. Twenty-six percent said no and five percent they weren't sure.
An Austin attorney has filed a lawsuit to remove Lehmberg from office. His Facebook page has 1,200 likes and a petition for Lehmberg's removal on change.org has more than 550 signatures.
"She had a problem on one night. I have known her personally for more than 35 years. She is an honorable, upstanding, hard-working, dedicated person. I absolutely support her and anybody here who has not made one mistake I'd be happy to stand there and watch you step forward first. It reminds me about glass houses and throwing stones," Blackwell said.