House Judiciary Committee Releases Bentley Impeachment Report

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Rebekah Caldwell Mason and Governor Robert Bentley.

file photo,Montgomery Advertiser

Update — April 8, 2017:

The Alabama Supreme Court Saturday dealt a blow to Gov. Robert Bentley in allowing impeachment proceedings to go on as planned. Bentley’s attorneys had sought to halt impeachment proceedings set to begin Monday. A Montgomery County Circuit Judge had ruled in Bentley’s favor, delaying impeachment proceedings. But it appears the impeachment process for Gov. Robert Bentley will begin this week. The Alabama Supreme Court stayed the injunction issued by Montgomery County Circuit Judge Greg Griffin against the start of impeachment proceedings, allowing them to go on. Both sides must file briefs on Monday.  

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Jones issued a triumphant statement Saturday. “This is a great day for the Constitution of Alabama,” he said.  “I want to thank the members of the Alabama Supreme Court for quickly acting on our appeal and recognizing, what a circuit court judge didn’t understand, that there are three branches of government and the Alabama Legislature is free to conduct its business as prescribed in the state constitution.”

Late Friday, the House Judiciary Committee filed a notice of appeal seeking expedited action from the Alabama Supreme Court to overturn the order halting the impeachment process.

The House Judiciary Committee released a report Friday that says Gov. Robert Bentley “directed law enforcement to advance his personal interests” and became increasingly paranoid as he worked to hide a relationship with a former political aide.

The 131-page report came three days before the committee was set to begin impeachment hearings against the governor. Bentley’s attorneys earlier Friday filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to try to halt the release of the report. Montgomery Circuit Court Judge Greg Griffin allowed the report to be released, but an hour later, stopped the hearings. See update.

Bentley argued that the report contained embarrassing details. Bentley developed a relationship with his former political advisor Rebekah Mason. After Bentley’s former wife secretly recorded him making sexually-charged comments to Mason, Bentley directed law enforcement to conduct tasks that were outside the scope of their regular duties to prevent the recordings from becoming public, according to the report. The report also says while Bentley did not hide the relationship with Mason from his inner circle, he used intimidation to attempt to keep his staff silent.

Earlier this week the Alabama Ethics Commission found probable cause that Bentley violated state ethics and campaign finance laws.

House Judiciary Committee Special Counsel Jack Sharman released impeachment documents online Friday.

Gigi Douban

Gigi Douban

News Director