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Racy Emails Part Of Texas DA's Scandal

Newly discovered sexually explicit emails have deepened the political crisis for Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal.
Racy Emails Part Of Texas DA's Scandal
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Jan 12, 2008 5:00 AM PST    Text size: 
HOUSTON — Already reeling from the revelation that he had used his state-issued computer to circulate racist jokes and to strategize with political consultants, Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal is now facing heat over another alleged impropriety: using his work email account to send sexually explicit images.

According to the Houston Chronicle, a new batch of 730 emails examined by the newspaper included numerous sexually explicit images, although it is not clear whether Rosenthal actually forwarded the emails to any other recipients, or merely received and read the sexually explicit emails.

Some of Rosenthal’s fellow Republicans, many of whom had already opined that Rosenthal should not seek reelection, are now calling on the DA to resign immediately.

“It’s time for Chuck Rosenthal to pack his bags and leave,” said county Republican Party Chairman Jared Woodfill.

The emails reportedly included video clips featuring nudity and sex acts, and a racist joke that compared Bill Clinton to a black man; the email said that Clinton played the saxophone, smoked marijuana and gets a check from the government each month, according to the Chronicle.

The emails also included numerous exchanges between Rosenthal and Sam Siegler, Rosenthal’s personal physician and the husband of Kelly Siegler, who announced that she would run for district attorney in the upcoming election after Rosenthal withdrew himself from the race earlier this month.

In one such email, sent from Sam Siegler to Rosenthal, a video attachment reportedly shows women having their breasts exposed in public by men who forcibly pull down their blouses. The video reportedly refers to the practice as “sharking.”

The emails were obtained as part of a federal civil rights lawsuit filed against the Harris County Sheriff's Office in connection with an incident that took place in 2001. Rosenthal had argued that 130 of the messages were privileged and should not be released. Those emails, which were later mistakenly released by U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt, contained love letters from Rosenthal to executive secretary Kerry Stevens.

That revelation caused Rosenthal to withdraw from the election under pressure from local Republican Party officials. The additional 730 emails were released after Hoyt ruled Monday that the messages were not subject to a protective order.

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