Magazine article Information Management

Houston DA Deleted E-Mails

Magazine article Information Management

Houston DA Deleted E-Mails

Article excerpt

Harris County (Texas) District Attorney Charles Rosenthal Jr. admitted to a federal judge that he violated two subpoenas and a court order by deleting as many as 3,500 e-mail messages that factored into a civil rights lawsuit.

The messages \vere sought as part of a lawsuit against the Harris County Sheriff's Department involving two brothers who claim they were falsely arrested and brutalized after photographing sheriff's deputies raiding a neighbor's house in 2002.

Rosenthal admitted to providing false information in earlier sworn testimony about how he deleted messages, calling his earlier testimony "an error."

A computer specialist from the prosecutor's office testified that when he went to collect Rosenthal's messages in November 2007, he could find only 1,585. About 3,500 others had been deleted, he said. Rosenthal allegedly did not inform his staff of the deletions, and the prosecutor did not learn of the deleted e-mails until he went to retrieve them.

Asked why he deleted e-mail messages the court had ordered him to provide, Rosenthal said he was trying to clean up his computer desktop and deleted e-mails he thought he did not need any longer. …

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