Travis Co. DA Lehmberg to donate salary earned in jail to MADD

Travis Co. DA Lehmberg to donate salary earned in jail to MADD

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Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg talked with FOX 7 today. One of very few public statements she's given since her arrest. One of her announcements: she'll donate the salary she earned while in jail to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Those who want Rosemary Lehmberg removed from office are demanding she give the taxpayers back the money she earned while in jail.

Lehmberg says she fully understands those concerns. This donation she says was her idea and she's been thinking of how to reimburse the public for awhile.

"First of all you can see that I'm at work and I'm fine," Lehmberg said.

From in her second floor office at the Travis County Justice Complex, District Attorney Lehmberg shared a brief statement saying, "Last April I made a huge mistake and I'm trying to make amends for that. What I want people to know today is that I am committed to prosecuting all the felonies that come through my office that includes felony DWIs. My values haven't changed. My priorities haven't changed."

The interview was prompted by our request for comment after receiving a copy of an open records request submitted to the D.A.'s office from attorney Kerry O'Brien. The letter shows Lehmberg's estimated monthly salary is $13,358 dollars.

O'Brien feels 22 days-worth should be returned to the public. That's the amount of time Lehmberg spent in jail for her April DWI conviction.

"I couldn't sleep at night if I was a public official and I was paid for staying in jail for my criminal conviction," O'Brien said.

O'Brien is spear-heading an effort to remove Lehmberg from office. He has filed a lawsuit that is now making its way through the court system.

"We're using whatever tools we can to get the message to her and everybody else that she needs to be gone. Her resignation is three months overdue," he said.

While Lehmberg is limited on what she can say because of the pending legal action, she addressed the money issue.

She will donate ten thousand dollars to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. $9,600 of her donation is what she made while serving her sentence.

"Some time ago I asked the comptroller and state auditor's office if that money could actually be sent back to the taxpayers, and there really isn't a mechanism for that. But I have determined that this is a way that I can make sure that the taxpayer money I was paid while I was in jail for my DWI goes back to a good source to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers who do wonderful work," Lehmber said.

O'Brien is skeptical about Lehmberg's intentions.

"Listen, I gave her two months after she got out of jail to make this open records request intentionally to see what she would do on her own and obviously she did nothing. This is just a PR response to a situation that looks horrible to the taxpayer," O'Brien said.

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