Lehmberg takes the stand in civil trial


by JADE MINGUS / KVUE NEWS and Associated Press

Bio | Email | Follow: @JadeM_KVUE


Posted on December 10, 2013 at 7:35 AM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 11 at 9:24 AM

AUSTIN, Texas -- Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg has taken the stand in a civil trial to decide if she'll get to keep her job following a drunken driving arrest this year.

During the first day of testimony on Monday, various witnesses said Lehmberg was scowling, shouting and threatening corrections officers on the night of her April arrest. A psychiatrist who treated Lehmberg in rehab after her arrest said the district attorney showed an "excellent" prognosis for recovery.

On Tuesday, a doctor who assessed Lehmberg after her arrest took the stand.

Dr. Herbert Munden, an expert in addiction medicine and a recovering alcoholic, said he identifies success in alcohol recovery as not drinking and having quality of life. His assessment of Lehmberg is that she can achieve that and still keep her job.

"In the course of all this time, I have not heard anyone complain about her ability to practice or do her job, nor should there be any reason she should be prevented from doing that," said Munden.

Dr. Munden described Lehmberg as "alcohol dependent without physiological dependency." This means she can go days or weeks without drinking and still experience no withdrawal symptoms. At the end of his initial assessment on May 6, he concluded that if Lehmberg completed treatment at inpatient facility and maintained her sobriety, she would have an excellent prognosis.

The doctor also mentioned that Lehmberg hasn't made an attempt at follow up on any kind of treatment with him.

On the stand, Lehmberg cried and apologized for her behavior. She said she has better coping skills now instead of turning to alcohol to help with stress and back pain. She told the judge her last drinks were two glasses of wine during a flight to rehab.

Lehmberg pleaded guilty within days of her arrest, was sentenced to 45 days in jail and took a leave of absence to check into rehab. She then returned to her job.

Her removal is being sought through a petition filed under state law.