High Court Greenlights Impeachment Proceedings For Alabama Governor


The Alabama Supreme Court Saturday lifted a temporary restraining order blocking impeachment hearings against Gov. Robert Bentley.

Montgomery Circuit Judge Greg Griffin on Friday said he was granting the governor's request for a temporary restraining order.

The House Judiciary Committee was scheduled to begin impeachment hearings Monday morning.

Bentley's troubles began last year when recordings surfaced of him making suggestive remarks to a former senior adviser, Rebekah Mason, before his wife of 50 years filed for divorce in August 2015. Bentley said after the ethics commission findings that he had no intention of resigning. "I have done nothing illegal".

"If the people want to know if I misused state resources, the answer is simply no".

Bentley said he has been humiliated and apologized for his mistakes.

The report says Governor Bentley blamed Hannah for the existence of the tapes, and not long after that is when the governor started confronting Hannah angrily about it.

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Bentley's legal team and a representative did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"We have filed a notice of appeal seeking expedited action from the Alabama Supreme Court to overturn this order", said Jones.

The committee plans to begin its impeachment process on Monday.

Sharman said lawmakers planned to appeal.

"This is a great day for the Constitution of Alabama", Judiciary Committee Chairman Mike Jones said in a statement. The panel's process would lead to a recommendation to the full House on whether to impeach.

The development was the latest in a wild week in Alabama politics as the Republican governor battled the Republican-controlled Alabama Legislature over his possible impeachment.

Earlier this week, Bentley learned he could face criminal prosecution when the Alabama Ethics Commission found probable cause that he broke ethics and campaign law.

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The special counsel to the Judiciary Committee, Sharman, has said the committee hadn't violated any due process rights. The report says Ms. Bentley asked Hannah, who was the first lady's Chief of Staff, to help catch Governor Bentley in the act because Ms. Bentley says she thought he was having an affair with Rebekah Mason.

Bentley twice asked his former security officer Ray Lewis to end his relationship with Mason and instructed the state employee to drive to Tuscaloosa to pressure his son to turn over a copy of a recorded conversation between him and Mason, according to the report.

"Gov. Bentley directed law enforcement to advance his personal interests and, in a process characterized by increasing obsession and paranoia, subjected career law enforcement officers to tasks meant to protect his reputation", the report said.

The report also included text messages Dianne Bentley gave the committee.

During one occasion, Ms. Bentley was able to read texts sent between the Governor and Mason while they were all sitting at the same dinner table for a 2014 event hosted by the Republican Governors Association.

"I'm so in love with you".

"Governor Bentley's loyalty shifted from the State of Alabama to himself", Sharman wrote in an executive summary. He said it appears to be an "amalgam of hearsay, rumor and innuendo".

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