New DA makes some changes

March 20, 2008 5:53:06 PM PDT
He was officially sworn in late Wednesday, but already Harris County's new district attorney is making some big changes. Kenneth Magidson picked a new executive assistant. Usually not a big move, but in this case it's newsworthy.

His former assistant was Chuck Rosenthal's assistant Kerry Stevens. Rosenthal, you will remember, admitted having an affair with Ms. Stevens. She also was paid thousands of dollars more than other assistants and had use of a taxpayer owned car.

Not anymore.

Magidson lowered her pay and took the keys back from that car.

"When you have a new head of an office or a department, you bring in a new executive assistant primarily to start fresh with you, so that we start on the same first page," Magidson said.

Magidson would not talk about Stevens and Rosenthal's relationship. Kerry Stevens was reassigned to the grand jury staff. Magidson also tweaked the phone and email policy today to pull it in line with other county departments. Looking ahead, Magidson, who spent his first official day on the job meeting staffers, told us rebuilding trust in the office will happen steadily.

"I think people's impression of the criminal justice system and what a prosecutor is doing in court when he is talking to a juror is built on a daily basis," Magidson said. "Sure it can be ruined with bad acts, but it also is something you build with trust."

Magidson will likely serve through the end of the year. He would not talk about specific cases nor about Chuck Rosenthal's problems.

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