Impeachment report gives look into Alabama governor scandal

Montgomery Circuit Judge Greg Griffin has granted Gov. Robert Bentley's request for a temporary restraining order against the House Judiciary Committee.

Lawyers for both sides must file briefs with the Supreme Court by Monday morning, but it appears impeachment can proceed.

A Montgomery County State Court judge was still hearing arguments on Friday evening over the governor's motion to halt impeachment proceedings in the Alabama House of Representatives.

Lawyers for the two-term Republican have won a temporary restraining order delaying impeachment proceedings that were set to begin Monday in the Alabama House Judiciary Committee. He said Bentley "encouraged an atmosphere of intimidation" to ensure the silence of his staff. Later in the day, before the report's release, Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon called on Bentley to resign.

The report accuses him of using state resources, including law enforcement, to hide the affair and protect his reputation, "in a process characterized by increasing obsession and paranoia".

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

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley speaks during a news conference in Mobile, Alabama July 2, 2012.

The report included thousands of pages of exhibits, including text messages of Mason and Bentley exchanging declarations of love and affection.

Bentley, a 74-year-old Republican, has battled impeachment efforts over the last year and has defied calls from political leaders that he stand down.

Despite the legal troubles occurring with his administration, Gov. Bentley has refused to step down from office.

Bentley also ordered former Secretary of Alabama Law Enforcement Spencer Collier not to provide an affidavit to the Attorney General's Office. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley walks to the podium before a news conference on Friday, April 7, 2017, outside the Alabama Capitol building in Montgomery, Ala.

Bentley, a former Baptist deacon, used the language of his religion during his Friday public appearance, acknowledging "personal struggles" and asking for prayer.

Political pressure for him to resign has been growing since tape recordings were released in 2016 of him making sexually suggestive comments to Mason.

Attorney David Byrne told the judge that the governor is not being treated fairly in the quickly moving process.

Sharman and Alabama Law Institute Director Othni Lathram argued in court Friday that the Constitution delegated powers to pursue impeachment entirely to the Alabama Legislature. The Alabama Ethics Commission on Wednesday found probable cause that Bentley broke ethics and campaign law and referred the matter for possible prosecution.

  • Carolyn Briggs