Harris County DA Reconsiders Withdrawing from Race

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HOUSTON (AP) - A scandal over affectionate work e-mails Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal sent to his secretary may have cost him his bid for a third term.

Now a judge wants to look into accusations that Rosenthal -- who now says he may not be giving up on re-election after all -- deleted more than 2,500 other e-mails in part to prevent similar romantic messages from being made public.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Rosenthal now says he is reconsidering his decicison to withdrawal from the March primary, and that he may refile his candidacy before Friday's deadline.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt will hold a hearing January 31 on whether Rosenthal should be held in contempt.

Rosenthal said deleting the e-mails was "an error in judgment" and denied it was done to avoid a court request to produce the communications.

Last month, as part of a civil rights lawsuit against the Harris County Sheriff's Department, more than 100 e-mails were briefly released.

Those detailed an affectionate relationship between Rosenthal and Kerry Stevens.

Rosenthal is married. He says he's not having an affair with Stevens, but that he did in the 1980s.