Justice has a way of catching up to people. I found it more than ironic that disgraced former Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal (pictured left) is now citing memory problems caused by prescription drugs as the reason he deleted thousands of e-mails subpoenaed in a federal lawsuit in Houston. Rosenthal, who was considered the most powerful prosecutor in Texas just a few months ago, now faces a possible federal contempt citation over the deleted emails.
Racism, Adultery & Pornography found in District Attorney's E-mails
Other Rosenthal e-mails released as part of the lawsuit pushed even Houston Republicans to demand that their fellow Republican resign. The most controversial e-mails were racist jokes. One e-mail entitled “Fatal Overdose” had a picture of a black man flopped out on a sidewalk surrounded by chicken bones and watermelon rinds. Other emails contained sexually explicit video clips.
Then there were the e-mails of an illicit nature that the married district attorney sent to his secretary with whom he admits having an affair. Yes, this is the same Chuck who wears a “What Would Jesus Do” bracelet around the courthouse. We all know Jesus had a few things to say about hypocrisy.
Rosenthal Blames Memory Problems
Now Rosenthal wants a black U.S. district judge to believe that memory problems caused him to delete e-mails in this civil rights lawsuit. Rosenthal has also testified that, oops, the memory problems caused him to testify incorrectly in this trial—opening him to a perjury charge.
Rosenthal is pushing the limits of even the most judicious, slow-to-decide among us.
Has Rosenthal Forgotten Andrea Yates Faced More than Memory Problems?
This is the same district attorney who charged Andrea Yates (pictured below) with capital murder. Yates is the Houston, Texas mom who drowned her five children in the family bathtub in 2001. The same D.A. who then pursued the death penalty against this sick woman.
Back then, Rosenthal chose to ignore the overwhelming evidence that this mother was suffering from the most serious kind of mental illness—a psychosis which is a complete loss of contact with reality. Evidence proved Yates was seeing images and hearing voices that didn’t exist and that she believed she had to kill her kids to save them from hell.
I was there reporting from the scene the day Yates drowned her five kids. Journalists quickly discovered Yates had been recently released from a mental hospital—not because she was well but because her health insurance company demanded that she be discharged.
I pursued this story for months looking for the darkness in Andrea Yates. Despite my dozens of attempts, I couldn’t find a single living person who had anything bad to say about Andrea—not one. The prosecutors couldn’t find anyone either. Heck, you could throw a rock within 10 feet of me in any direction and find someone with a criticism of me. Yet this killer had nothing but a stellar record of kindness and goodness dating back to childhood.
She also had a long and well documented record of mental illness and suicide attempts. On that tragic day, she was described as mute, walking in circles, and pulling her hair out.
The county’s own psychiatrist, who examined Yates immediately after the murder and for the year following the crime, concluded Yates was completely insane. That didn’t matter to Rosenthal.
During the trial, medical imaging proved Yates’ repeated psychosis had left the former high school valedictorian and nurse with brain damage. Her rambling jail cell letters to her mother with misspellings of common words supported that evidence.
Famous Hollywood Psychiatrist also Faced "Memory Problems" & Lied
Rosenthal and his team of assistant district attorneys swept into the courtroom and paid famous forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz $50,000 in taxpayer money to testify that Yates knew what she was doing when she drowned her kids and that she understood it was wrong.
He also incorrectly testified that he had consulted on an episode of Law & Order that followed this same plot line—mother drowns kids but gets off because jury finds her insane. Rosenthal’s prosecutors told the jury that Andrea Yates loved the show Law & Order and lifted her murder plot from the show. The jury convicted her and sentenced her to life in prison.
Under Rosenthal’s leadership, hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money was wasted and even many die-hard death penalty advocates were a little sickened by his handling of the Yates' case.
My Memory of the Good Rosenthal
As a citizen of Harris County, I once contacted Rosenthal’s office because I was being threatened by a man. A judge had issued a restraining order against the man, but as a reporter I know how those often come just before the woman is killed.
I spoke to Rosenthal himself and he was quick to make me feel safe. He also listened to my situation and said he would file charges as soon as the law allowed him. That was the Chuck Rosenthal who was tough on criminals—the one victims loved—the one who used the law to nail the bad guys.
Remember This, Chuck
Yates’s medical records and experts proved that her treating psychiatrist, a man who obtained his medical degree in Pakistan, had given her enough strong psychotropic drugs during the weeks leading up to the murders to drive a sane person to kill. Now Chuck Rosenthal wants us to believe prescription drugs caused his brain to have memory problems, which caused him to possibly commit two crimes—lying to a jury and destroying evidence. Is he crazy?Tweet