Rosenthal, attorney fined over deleted emails

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Various media outlets have reported on the latest (and perhaps the last) bad news for former Harris County DA Chuck Rosenthal. Here is an excerpt from the Chronicle:

A federal judge ordered former Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal to pay nearly $19,000 in sanctions after finding him in contempt of court for deleting more than 2,500 e-mails that had been subpoenaed for a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Additionally on Friday, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt ordered Scott Durfee, general counsel for the district attorney’s office, to pay $5,000 in sanctions after finding Durfee failed to appropriately act or advise Rosenthal on the matter.

Both Rosenthal and Durfee have until April 30 to pay their respective fines, according to the judge’s order, released late Friday.
[snip]

In blistering and scathing language, Hoyt’s court order rebukes Rosenthal for “knowingly” violating the Oct. 31 subpoena seeking his e-mails.

“The court finds several areas of contradictions and misrepresentations that render (Rosenthal’s) testimony unreliable and incredible. Moreover, the court views his conduct as venomous and hostile to the judicial process,” Hoyt wrote.

[snip]

“There is no evidence that Rosenthal’s computer memory space was threatened by additional e-mails or that, in fact, it was short of space. Hence, these reasons — all implausible inconsistencies — defy the law of common sense,” Hoyt wrote.

Rosenthal’s conduct also showed “an intentional willfulness” to disobey the law, Hoyt concluded.

The actual punishment doesn’t seem as harsh as the language.

The Harris County GOP must be relieved about now that Rosenthal won’t be on the ballot this fall.

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