The judge presiding over the trail to remove Travis County's District Attorney raised questions about the case Monday. Judge David Peebles said Rosemary Lehmberg's problem with alcohol may have hurt the office's reputation but is not sure her drunk driving earlier this year caused serious damage to the office.
District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, Monday morning, was back at a table reserved for defendants. Her attorney opened the non-jury trial by arguing his client has not only taken responsibility for her actions eight months ago -- she has also quit drinking alcohol.
The first to testify Monday was Mark Weston who made a 911 call when he spotted an erratic driver along RR 620.
"There was a period I was afraid ... I was going to hit the vehicle due to her breaking ... And then yeah absolutely that someone else would get hit," said Weston who added he was surprised when he found out who was behind the wheel.
Lehmberg did her time in jail for the offense. According to her attorney it's time to move on and it is not in the public interest to remove her from office.
To justify the petition to remove Lehmberg from office, attorneys for the county appear to be using a judicial strategy you might see during a military court martial -- a conduct unbecoming argument.
The arresting officers were brought in and described Lehmberg's drunk and rude behavior as they took her into custody. County jailers also explained why Lehmberg's behavior required them to restrain her during a blood draw. The officers said at times they believed Lehmberg was threatening their jobs by making it clear who she was -- and who she knew.
It was revealed that Lehmberg has been diagnosed with, Adjustment Disorder and mild Alcohol Use Disorder. Substance abuse counselors who treated her testified Lehmberg's chances for recovery are good and she is capable of doing her job, but only if she follows her continuing care recommendations.
Which includes taking part in a 90 day transitional care program seeing a psychiatrist and going to AA or a similar recovery support group - she reportedly admits not following all of the plan. Kerry O'Brien who filed the initial complaint admits the case for removal has not yet been made
"It's been a lot about ... will she relapse ... How her treatment has been ...I think the judge is hearing that's it's in the public interest that the county attorney presents more evidence in how our faith in the DA was destroyed as of April 12 and 13," said O'Brien who added his faith has been destroyed.
The District Attorney is expected to take the stand in her own defense when testimony continues Tuesday.