Ex-DA says medical problems affected memory on emails

HOUSTON /*Chuck Rosenthal*/ said an unspecified condition made his memory unreliable about the 2,500 e-mails he'd been ordered to turn over as part of a lawsuit against the sheriff's department. Other e-mails released as part of the suit led to Rosenthal's resignation because of their pornographic, racist and political content.

"While I am seeking treatment to address these matters correctly, I am concerned and wish to ask the Court to take into account that my prior testimony and Declaration must be considered in this context," Rosenthal wrote in a court request asking to amend some testimony.

Rosenthal's request came on the same day Gov. Rick Perry named Kenneth Magidson, an assistant U.S. attorney in Houston, as interim Harris County District Attorney until the end of December. A new district attorney is set to be elected in November.

Rosenthal, who had been considered Texas' most powerful prosecutor, had been pressured to resign by protesters and officials from his own Republican Party since the pornographic and racist e-mails were made public. Also among the e-mails were romantic ones he had sent to his secretary, with whom he acknowledged having an affair in the 1980s.

His resignation ended an investigation by the Texas Attorney General's Office on whether Rosenthal used his county e-mail account for political campaigning, a possible violation of the law.

But Rosenthal is still under threat of the contempt citation for deleting the e-mails that had been demanded as part of the lawsuit, which has since been settled.

Rosenthal had been ordered by U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt to turn over e-mails he sent and received from July to mid-October as part of the suit.

In December court papers, Rosenthal said he deleted all messages older than May 3 from his in box, those older than July 24 from his deleted folder and those older than Nov. 24 from his sent items folder. But last month, Rosenthal testified he reviewed his e-mails and deleted ones he didn't think he needed any more.

In a two-page filing Friday, Rosenthal said that because of his medical condition his prior statements and testimony were either incorrect or needed to be clarified. A statement from Rosenthal's doctor was also filed Friday, under seal.

In his resignation letter, Rosenthal had said he decided to step down in part because his judgment had been affected by a combination of prescription drugs.

Hoyt has not indicated when he will rule on whether or not to hold Rosenthal in contempt.

Magidson, Rosenthal's temporary replacement, has been an assistant U.S. attorney in Houston since 1983. He served as a Harris County assistant district attorney from 1977 to 1983.

As a federal prosecutor, Magidson has been coordinator of a task force that targeted drug trafficking and money-laundering organizations operating in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. In Harris County, Magidson handled major felony crimes.

Voters are set to elect a new district attorney in November's general election.

Kelly Siegler, one of Rosenthal's former top prosecutors, and former judge Pat Lykos will square off in an April 8 runoff for the GOP nomination. The winner will face former Houston Police Chief C.O. Bradford, the Democratic nominee.

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