Published: Tue, April 11, 2017
Culture | By Antonia Gonzales

Impeachment hearings set to begin for Alabama governor

Impeachment hearings set to begin for Alabama governor

The Alabama Republican Party on Sunday joined calls for Bentley to step down, with the party steering committee passing a resolution calling on Bentley to resign.

A historic moment in Alabama politics got underway Monday morning as hearings began to determine if the state's governor should be impeached for allegedly using state resources to cover up an affair.

"I have done nothing illegal", he said at a news conference on Friday.

The Judiciary Committee of the Alabama House of Representatives was set to begin the impeachment process on Monday. The governor's lawyer called the report an "amalgam of hearsay rumor and innuendo". Ross Garber, right, attorney for Robert Bentley, and David Byrne, left, legal advisor for Governor Robert Bentley, discuss the ethics commission decision against Bentley during a press conference in Monday.

The governor's legal team has argued that the proposed hearings are fundamentally unfair and do not give the governor the adequate opportunity to respond to accusations. The report included accounts from the governor's ex-wife and staff, who described suspicious text messages and encounters between Bentley and Mason. "He said to me the reason he leased the plane was so that Rebekah could be on the plane because he knew I objected to having her on the state aircraft", Lewis told the special counsel. When his wife, with technical assistance from her chief of staff, covertly recorded Governor Bentley speaking provocatively to Mason, Governor Bentley's loyalty shifted from the State of Alabama to himself.

Bentley, 74, is a married father of four.

The House Judiciary Committee in a report has accused Bentley of ordering state law enforcement officers to track down copies of an embarrassing recording that suggested an affair with Mason, who has resigned. As of this week, a spokeswoman says that the scandal-plagued Bentley is not personally involved in any negotiations to resign. Dianne Bentley provided the messages to the committee.

"I sure miss you". Now the question has turned to whether Bentley - in addition to being a moral hypocrite - wasted tax resources and/ or broke laws in the furtherance of his tryst. "I simply did not want to interfere with an ongoing investigation by the Acting AG that has been ongoing for several months".

The Judiciary Committee also alleged Bentley intimidated staffers and law enforcement to keep quiet about his questionable relationship with Mason.

Collier was sacked by Bentley in 2016 when the administration said an internal review uncovered possible misuse of state funds. "You are the only one", one message read. But the Alabama Supreme Court ruled on Saturday that, at least for now, the proceedings could begin, clearing the way for the special counsel, Jack Sharman, to explain his findings in a public setting.

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