As Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg continues dealing with the repercussions of her driving-while-intoxicated conviction, an assistant DA in her office was arrested last weekend for DWI.
Brandon Grunewald, 33, was arrested and charged with the Class B misdemeanor on Aug. 11 after an Austin police officer responded to a collision involving Grunewald's vehicle. The same day, he bonded out of the Travis County Jail on a $3,500 bail.
"Brandon made a mistake that he's torn up about but will pay for and have to deal with just like anybody else," says an email from Brian Roark, Grunewald's lawyer and a partner in Botsford & Roark in Austin.
Grunewald didn't return a telephone call seeking comment.
Lehmberg wrote in part in an Aug. 13 statement, "I met with Brandon yesterday to discuss the matter. He will work with his attorney over the next days to determine the best course to dispose of the case. Because the events are so recent, I informed Brandon that I would wait until all the facts are known before making any final decisions, but that it has not been our usual course to terminate an employee for first offense DWI."
The Aug. 11 Affidavit for Warrant of Arrest and Detention details Grunewald's arrest. The officer arrived at the scene of the collision and, "Grunewald stated that while he was operating his Landrover … he struck the rear of the mini cooper that had come to a stop."
The collision didn't result in "serious injury."
The officer observed Grunewald and "formed the opinion" that he was "intoxicated" because he had: "mussed" clothing; a "strong" odor of alcohol; bloodshot and watery eyes; slurred and confused speech; and he was swaying, uncooperative and "lying."
Grunewald refused field sobriety tests and a breath alcohol test.
He does not have previous DWI convictions, says the affidavit.
Grunewald earned his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston in 2005 and he was licensed to practice law the same year, according to State Bar of Texas records. He has no public disciplinary history.
Lehmberg's statement says Grunewald has worked for the Travis County DA's Office for nearly five years.
"His performance has been excellent," she wrote.
In April, Lehmberg was convicted of Class A misdemeanor DWI because her blood alcohol content was 0.239, which enhances the charge. She served jail time and voluntarily completed a treatment program. She's facing two civil suits, which were recently consolidated into one, seeking to remove her from office, and there's an ongoing criminal investigation into allegations that she committed third-degree felony obstruction when she was in jail on the night of her arrest.
Also, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed funding for the Travis County DA's Public Integrity Unit, saying he wouldn't support the funding when the person leading the unit had "lost the public's confidence." Perry is under criminal investigation based on a complaint that alleged his veto broke the law. [See " Investigation of Governor's Cut to DA's Public Integrity Unit," Texas Lawyer, July 29, 2013, page 5.]