More calls for Rosenthal's resignation

January 11, 2008 3:20:27 PM PST
More community leaders are speaking out about the email scandal involving Harris County DA Chuck Rosenthal. The Houston Ministers Against Crime held a press conference Friday, in which they, too, called for Rosenthal to resign.This press conference comes a day after the Texas attorney general announced a criminal investigation into Rosenthal's questionable emails, which contained racist jokes and pornography.

At their press conference, the ministers say they are angry, upset and hurt by what was found in Rosenthal's in-box. Close to a dozen of them gathered Friday morning. They started their press conference by holding up a copy of a photo that was part of a racially charged joke found in the DA's email.

They say when the allegations of his improper use of his county computer regarding the love notes he allegedly sent to his secretary first surfaced, they called him. They offered him support and even prayed for him.

On Friday, though, they say they are only praying that he leaves his seat as district attorney.

"For the past five years, we've worked very closely with him on cases and things like the Josiah Sutton, where he didn't want to sign a release and we worked with him. He prayed with us. Every time we'd go in, he'd pray with us and at the same time, have this sort of stuff on his mind," said, holding a photo of an African-American man who appears to be passed out, surrounded by watermelon. "I mean, this is purely racist."

The ministers are calling for a community forum on this issue. They also want federal investigators involved. They are also calling for a complete overhaul of the district attorney's office, which includes all assistant DAs. They say they've seen some of the assistant DAs treat minority clients differently. They actually named Kelly Siegler and say they're not supporting her in her race for the district attorney's seat.

The Houston chapter of the NAACP has also called for Rosenthal's resignation. Late yesterday, the local chapter voted unanimously to demand that Rosenthal leave his post immediately. NAACP leaders say they have lost confidence in Rosenthal and that he lacks the moral integrity needed to continue leading the office.

"I think the most troubling is for an office that should know the law that violates the law and it doesn't matter what race that person is in," said Carol Mims-Galloway, president of the Houston NAACP.

Rosenthal's emails were unsealed as part of a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Harris County Sheriff's Office. A judge resealed those emails last month, but they had already been made public.

Rosenthal has a contempt of court hearing later this month for deleting 2500 emails.