Houston’s chief prosecutor, Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal, halted his election campaign yesterday, three days after he had defiantly vowed to run and win despite a scandal over intimate e-mails he sent to his executive secretary, Kerry Stevens, the Houston Chronicle reports. The action means that the nation’s leading jurisdiction for sentencing murderers to death will get a chief prosecutor next January after eight years of service by Rosenthal. He became an assistant district attorney in 1977.
Defense lawyer and former prosecutor Jim Leitner, one of the few contenders party leaders had considered backing in the primary if Rosenthal had remained in the race, filed for a place on the ballot Wednesday. Rosenthal said he and Stevens had an affair several years ago during his prior marriage and denied renewing his romance recently with Stevens, who is paid about $75,000 as his office aide and drove a county car. She remained on duty yesterday. Rosenthal is 61; Stevens is 56.