Alabama governor halts impeachment, not disparaging report
17 April, 2017, 04:52 | Author: Michele Stevens
The Alabama Supreme Court on Saturday allowed the impeachment of Governor Robert Bentley to start next week, staying a temporary restraining order from a lower court that had blocked hearings, court documents showed.
"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", House Judiciary Chairman Mike Jones said in a statement.
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. He said it appears to be an "amalgam of hearsay, rumor and innuendo".
One entry notes that Mason bragged that Bentley once told her he opened the door of his Washington, D.C., hotel in his boxer shorts, errantly thinking it was her knocking.
"To ensure the silence of his staff, Governor Bentley encouraged an atmosphere of intimidation", the report stated, adding there was "obsession and paranoia", and that Bentley "subjected career law enforcement officers to tasks meant to protect his reputation".
Special Counsel Jack Sharman plans to release a 100-page report Friday afternoon that includes thousands of pages of exhibits. While having an affair isn't illegal in Alabama, Bentley's critics argue it makes him unfit to be governor.
Sharman says the court doesn't have a right to interfere with the hearing process at this point.
The committee said it was "deeply saddened" by the circumstances surrounding the House investigation. The report is supposed to be released Friday and the committee is scheduled to begin impeachment hearings Monday. Bentley's legal adviser David Byrne has said the rapidly moving process hasn't given the governor time to respond.
"The house impeachment report, it helps vindicate what Ray Lewis has been saying since we filed the lawsuit last fall", Saxon said Sunday.
According to a report released on Friday, Ms. Bentley was able to observe an ongoing affair between the Governor and Rebekah Mason through an old iPad, which Bentley gave his wife. The Alabama Ethics Commission Wednesday found probable cause that the governor had violated ethics and campaign finance laws, and referred charges to the Montgomery County District Attorney for consideration.
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