I do have a fair amount of sympathy for the folks who are stuck working for Chuck Rosenthal.
"It's awful," said Luci Davidson, one of Rosenthal's division chiefs. "You never know when you wake up and turn on the news what they're going to be saying about us, globally. We're all clumped together on being unethical and racist and liars. It's very depressing, and it's hard to stay focused."
A day after Davidson's comment, the office was in the news for rejecting a grand jury's attempt to indict Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina and his wife in connection with a fire that destroyed their home last year.
A veteran prosecutor, Davidson said the rest of the office soldiers on while Rosenthal is criticized.
"There are people who rely on us every day to go in there and fight for them, and that's what we're going to continue to do, even though the pink elephant is still in the room," she said.
Several county officials have called on Rosenthal to resign, and the Attorney General's Office has launched an investigation into Harris County's top prosecutor.
Rosenthal has yet to formally acknowledge, much less discuss, the scandal with the staff, Davidson said. His resolve to operate as though nothing out of the ordinary has happened is evident at weekly staff meetings he holds with division chiefs, she said.
"It's not much different," said Bert Graham, Rosenthal's first assistant. "We have so much business to do, that's what takes our time. That's what people report on during the meetings."
About 20 people attend the meetings and, according to all accounts, nothing has changed about how Rosenthal manages the office -- but the mood is different.
"We're uncomfortable. We're embarrassed. We're humiliated," Davidson said.
Her colleagues, Davidson said, continue to work hard.
"Crime isn't going to stop," she said. "We're still going to go to work every day."
Prosecutor Denise Bradley, who is slated to help Rosenthal pursue the death penalty in March for Juan Leonardo Quintero for the shooting death of HPD officer Rodney Johnson, said morale is low.
"There are over 200 fine, dedicated attorneys here who have worked for their entire careers in this office," Bradley said. "It's discouraging to think that your life's work is being judged by the actions of someone else."