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Tuesday
Dec102013

District Attorney Fights for Job in Civil Trial After DWI Conviction

ABC News(AUSTIN, Texas) -- A Texas judge is hearing testimony in a civil trial to determine whether Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg should stay in office after a drunken-driving conviction.

Lehmberg, who told authorities she is 60, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 45 days in jail after her arrest this past April.  Her license was suspended for 180 days and she was fined $4,000. Since then, Lehmberg has issued a public apology and gone to rehab.

An Austin attorney then filed a petition to have her removed from office, which has led to the civil trial, but Lehmberg refuses to resign.

County sheriff's deputies testified on Monday that the night Lehmberg was arrested she was rude, angry, loud and belligerent. Authorities said she was so combative, at one point she had to be strapped into a restraint chair with a spit guard put over her face.

Lehmberg was pulled over on April 12 and prosecutors say her blood alcohol level was almost three times the legal limit. Witnesses were called to the stand on Monday to testify about Lehmberg's actions before and after she was in police custody.

A concerned driver called 911, reporting a person behind the wheel of a car swerving along the highway.

"I am behind a vehicle. This person is incredibly intoxicated I have never seen anything like it," the person told a 911 dispatcher.

After police arrested Lehmberg, she can be heard asking the arresting officers while in the back of the squad car, "Do you know who I am? Why do you have me handcuffed?"

Lehmberg later told them, "You have just ruined my career," according to dash cam video.

Other deputies testified that her behavior only became more bizarre and violent when she was in custody at the police station. Jailhouse video shows her stomping, kicking, sticking her tongue out and even gesturing with her fingers as if she were firing a gun.

The video also shows her repeatedly asking guards to call Greg, referring to Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton.

"Did you call Greg? Did you? Did you let him know you have me in custody?" Lehmberg asked.

In July, Lehmberg issued a public apology, saying, "Last April I made a huge mistake and I have spent a lot of time trying to make amends for that."

James Collins, the executive assistant Travis County attorney, who is prosecuting the case for the state, has said Lehmberg is unfit for office and could harm the public interest if she remains in her position.

Lehmberg is expected to testify in court Tuesday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio