Travis County's DA vows to pursue Tom DeLay
Tom DeLay's legal nightmare is far from over -- not if Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg gets her way. "We strongly agree that Tom DeLay is guilty," declared the liberal Democrat on Wednesday, soon after a Texas appeals court exonerated the former House Majority Leader of illegally funneling corporate contributions to Republican candidates in 2002. In arguing their case, Lehmberg and her team under then-District Attorney Ronny Earle had engaged in some creative legal arguments -- convincing a jury that the financial transactions amounted to money laundering. But the appeals court ruled that DeLay, age 66, violated no laws in Texas. It voted 2 to 1 along party lines.
DeLay, who spent millions of dollars in legal fees, was in Washington when he learned he'd won -- prompting him to thank God and call the money laundering charges an "outrageous criminalization of politics." But Lehmberg declared, "This is far from over. We're going to petition the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to review this opinion."
So who is Rosemary Lehmberg?
For starters, she's "one tough lesbian." That's according to an article last year in Dallasvoice.com, which covers LGBT issues. Calling attention to Lehmberg's biggest claim to fame, it also stated: "Under Lehmberg's leadership, the DA's office was able to win a conviction in the money laundering case of former House Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay."
And on occasion, Lehmberg likes to knock back a few. As one news outlet reported last April 15:
The DA was busted early Saturday morning after a 911 caller reported Lehmberg's car for weaving into oncoming traffic on 2222.
Cops caught up with Lehmberg and found an open bottle of vodka in the front seat. She admitted to having a couple of vodka drinks.
Lehmberg refused a breathalyzer at the scene and deputies went and got a search warrant for the DA's blood.
Here is the dashboard camera recording of her arrest:
Lehmberg behaved like a belligerent drunk when dealing with the police at her booking, as can be seen in this YouTube clip.
She threatened police while being booked and accused them of "ruining my political career." Even in liberal Travis County, the resulting scandal has caused many to call for her to step down. Yet she has refused to resign, even though she pled guilty to drunken driving and served some jail time.
Given all that's happened to 66-year-old Tom DeLay, it's no wonder that he thinks he got a raw deal. He did.
For the full opinion of the Third Court of Appeals, click here.