AUSTIN -- A judge has ruled that Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg will be allowed to keep her job after a DWI arrest earlier this year.
Lehmberg gave a statement to reporters outside the courtroom immediately after Judge David Peeples handed down his decision.
"First of all I want to apologize again for my behavior. I have said over and over it’s unexcusable, and I have tried to do everything I can to fix it, and I will continue to do everything in my power to make sure there is never a repeat," said Lehmberg.
The judge made the ruling just after 4 p.m. Wednesday after three days of a civil trial for Lehmberg. Shortly after court began at 9 a.m., prosecutors rested their case after focusing a majority of their evidence on Lehmberg's DWI arrest earlier this year and testimony from her therapists.
The defense began its case by calling Dr. George Edwards, a pediatric physician at Dell Children's Medical Center, to the stand. He is on the Board of Directors for the Travis County Center for Child Protection, which Lehmberg had a role in creating in the 1990s.
When asked if the Lehmberg's office has done a good job keeping the children's advocacy center running, Dr. Edwards said "yes."
Next on the stand was Travis County DA First Assistant John Neal, who testified about his work at the DA's office. Neal says Lehmberg is very hands on and "down in the weeds."
Neal said he works with Lehmberg every day and that she's never smelled of alcohol or been impaired while on the job. He said the 215-member staff trusts her, and that her removal would be destructive and have a bad effect on Travis County's criminal justice system.
He said he fields complaints about the DA's office and never has had a complaint about Lehmberg's ability to continue in her job.
Neal also testified that since returning from rehab, Lehmberg seems to be more at ease, enjoying her job more, and that she is more outgoing.
Another one of Wednesday's witnesses was a criminal district judge who had to be subpoenaed to appear. Judge David Wahlberg echoed Neal's sentiments, saying removing Lehmberg from her office would be detrimental to the entire criminal justice system.
After the ruling, Lehmberg cried and hugged friends in the court room. She also spoke to reporters and apologized. She issued the following statement:
"I appreciate the thoughtful attention Judge Peeples gave my case. I am relieved and thankful that the process is over.
I was fortunate to have the highly professional assistance of Dan and Clark Richards, Karina Esparza, Catherine Mauzy and Chuck Herring. I will be forever grateful to them.
I appreciate the many supporters, particularly within my office, who encouraged me along the way.
I deeply regret my actions on April 12th and have taken full responsibility. I am committed to carrying out my responsibilities as District Attorney and to continue serving the voters of Travis County."