Alabama Supreme Court lifts Bentley impeachment stay

The Alabama Supreme Court this afternoon ordered a stay to the temporary restraining order issued by a Montgomery Judge that could stand in the way of the impeachment of Gov. Robert Bentley.

The controversy erupted previous year when the former head of state law enforcement, Spencer Collier, a day after being fired by Bentley, publicly accused Bentley of having an affair with his longtime political adviser, Mason.

Gov. Robert Bentley speaks during the annual State of the State address at the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017 in Montgomery, Ala.

Lawyers for both sides must file briefs with the Supreme Court by Monday morning, but it appears impeachment can proceed. Bentley has acknowledged making personal mistakes but maintained he did nothing illegal or to merit his removal from office.

The case was then assigned to Judge Roman Shaul, a Bentley appointee, who listened as the governor's legal team fought for a temporary injunction against the committee, seeking to prevent it from making recommendations concerning impeachment or conducting any proceedings that don't afford the governor due process of law.

We found that Hannah was a key part in helping Ms. Bentley with the recordings that indicate that Governor Bentley and Rebekah Mason were having an affair.

"This is a great day for the Constitution of Alabama", Judiciary Committee Chairman Mike Jones said in a statement.

The 131-page report came three days before the committee was set to begin impeachment hearings against the governor.

Republican House Speaker Mac McCutcheon on Friday said that the spectacle has been an embarrassment to the state.

His wife, Dianne Bentley, later filed for divorce after she says she got a text message from him that said, "I love you Rebekah".

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. He said the report is about 100 pages long with 3,000 pages of exhibits. The report will be given to the House Judiciary Committee as the committee weighs whether to recommend impeaching Bentley.

In the lawsuit, Bentley calls the impeachment process "fundamentally unfair" and asks a court to block the release of the report by the Judiciary Committee's special counsel.

On Wednesday, the Alabama Ethics Commission also found that Bentley probably violated ethics and campaign finance laws.

The Alabama House Judiciary Committee sought the investigation ahead of considering impeachment articles against the governor for willful neglect of duty and corruption in office.

The 74-year-old governor hastily called a news conference in which he told constituents he knew he had let them down.

  • Larry Hoffman