Move to impeach governor cleared by top court
- Author: Zachary Reyes Apr 13, 2017,
Apr 13, 2017, 21:28
Montgomery Circuit Court Judge Greg Griffin, appointed by the governor in 2014, granted a 10-day TRO against the hearings after arguments Friday.
The Alabama Supreme Court is allowing lawmakers to move forward with impeachment hearings against Gov. Robert Bentley, who has been fighting to stay in office after allegations that he inappropriately used his position to cover up an affair with a top aide. Bentley, who is in his second term, is accused of inappropriate use of state resources. "I have not", Bentley said.
Bentley is seeking a temporary restraining order to block Friday's scheduled release of a report compiled by the special counsel in the impeachment probe. He says he assumed these were communications with Rebekah Mason due to their timing in relation to phone calls between Mason and Governor Bentley, but he never actually saw Mason's name associated with these texts.
The order had halted the impeachment process until hearings could be held on Bentley's claim that lawmakers did not give enough time to present an adequate defence.
Sharman also wrote that Bentley obstructed the legislative investigation by refusing to cooperate and redacting text messages and other material requested by the committee.
The governor's lawyer called the report an "amalgam of hearsay rumor and innuendo".
Republican House Speaker Mac McCutcheon on Friday said that the spectacle has been an embarrassment to the state.
"The people of this state have never asked to be told of or shown the intimate, embarrassing details of my personal life and my personal struggles", Bentley said.
The report included thousands of pages of exhibits, including text messages of Mason and Bentley exchanging declarations of love and affection. The report will be given to the House Judiciary Committee as the committee weighs whether to recommend impeaching Bentley.
Bentley has insisted nothing he did was illegal and said Friday he would not resign.
"That panel says there's probable cause that the governor violated state campaign finance laws".
The controversy erupted a year ago 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.
The governor's lawyers argued the process was unfair to Bentley, while Sharman said impeachment proceedings were a legislative matter outside the court's jurisdiction.