Alabama Ethics Commission expected to hear Bentley case on Wednesday

Gov. Robert Bentley's lawyer on Tuesday said the governor must have "fairness and due process" as an impeachment committee weighs whether to recommend his impeachment.

Bentley's plan, if adopted by the House Judiciary Committee, would likely pre-empt the planned Friday release of a report by special prosecutor Jack Sharman, hired by the committee to investigate the governor. Garber Thursday said he wanted notice of charges, evidence and witnesses appearing and the ability to cross-examine witnesses.

Sharman said the governor is receiving more protections and due process than the subjects of most investigations.

Garber said he was confident the members of the Judiciary Committee would consider his proposal.

Attorney Ross Garber in a press conference at the Alabama Statehouse repeated concerns about the procedure proposed by the committee's special counsel and proposed a different process he said would resolve Bentley's fate "more quickly and in accordance with the law".

Garber did not says Thursday whether he would pursue legal action against the committee.

"This is an investigation that leads to a committee decision on a recommendation", Sharman said.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Mike Jones issued a statement today. That could delay the hearing schedule.

Sharman maintained Tuesday that the committee is providing due process and said the request is problematic. On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee is set to meet to hear a presentation of the report.

"I think we owe the people of the state of Alabama a conclusion in a reasonable amount of time", he said.

The resolution came after allegations about Bentley's relationship with former political adviser Rebekah Mason and whether he might have misused state resources.

Audio of Bentley making suggestive comments later surfaced.

James Sumner, a former director of the Alabama Ethics Commission, explained that if a hearing is held on Wednesday, the commission members will serve as a grand jury. Bentley a year ago apologized in a press conference after recordings surfaced of him making sexually charged remarks to a female aide before his divorce.

The State Emergency Operations Center in Clanton has been activated to level three, allowing AEMA staff to monitor the impact of the weather as it crosses the state.

  • Larry Hoffman