Candidate for DA explains her comments

January 11, 2008 6:02:41 PM PST
She said members of Lakewood Church are "screwballs and nuts," but now, candidate for district attorney Kelly Siegler says she's sorry. This comes as more community leaders step up to ask the current DA, Chuck Rosenthal, to resign. There are new developments tonight in the email controversy involving Chuck Rosenthal and the entire district attorney's office. Pornographic emails and racist jokes were found on Rosenthal's computer. And now, more people are demanding he leave. And one person in the running for his job is causing controversy of her own.

As Rosenthal ignores resignation pressures, the attention on Friday turned to Siegler, one of the women who wants his job

"I started this campaign a week ago," said Siegler. "It feels like a year."

The latest scrutiny came after Siegler apparently called members of Lakewood Church screwballs and nuts during jury selection for a capital murder case. On Friday, she says she was only trying to seat a tough jury.

"He was too forgiving," said Siegler of the juror. "It's not my job as a prosecutor to try to put someone on death row and put forgiving people in a jury box. My use of language was inappropriate maybe. It certainly wasn't meant to be offensive."

Siegler is running as a Republican and even though the Harris County Republican Party isn't endorsing anyone, the chair of the party is a Lakewood Church member.

"Obviously, I disagree with her comments about Lakewood Church. I've been going there since 1999. The Osteen family is a wonderful, wonderful family," said Harris County Republican Chairman Jared Woodfill. "I completely disagree with the comments she's made."

One of Siegler's primary opponents say she's just trying to focus on the campaign.

"All these individuals have families. And I'm not going to talk about personalities," said candidate Pat Lykos. "I'm going to talk about what I'm going to do should I be fortunate enough to be elected district attorney of Harris County, Texas."

but for one local pastors' group, the latest controversy is just one more reason they'd like to see a complete overhaul of the district attorney's office.

"We work with them and we try to work with them and try to do what's right, civically and right," said Pastor Robert Jefferson with Houston Ministers Against Crime. "But I'm telling you, it's not going to go down easy."

Siegler thought she could be a prosecutor and also run for district attorney. But she's reconsidered and plans to take a leave of absence from her current job starting Monday.