Impeachment hearings underway for Gov. Bentley
MONTGOMERY, AL —
The top lawyer in an impeachment investigation says Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley did not cooperate with the probe.
Special counsel Jack Sharman said Monday there was a question of the governor's "candor." Bentley is accused of misusing state resources to keep an alleged affair with a staffer from being exposed.
Sharman says the governor's office turned over only innocuous text messages between him and former political adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason. Sharman says the governor's former wife turned over others. In those texts, Bentley repeatedly told Mason how much me loved and wanted her.
The governor's then-wife, Dianne Bentley, was able to read the text messages because they also showed up on his state-issued iPad, which he had given the first lady. Dianne Bentley provided the messages to the committee.
It is not known if the messages were deleted from the governor's state phone when the committee requested them.
Impeachment hearings have begun for Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, who is accused of misusing state resources to keep an alleged affair with a staffer from being exposed.
House Judiciary Chairman Mike Jones opened the hearings Monday by saying no task was more serious than the possible removal of an elected governor.
Jones said it was time to hear evidence collected by the committee's special counsel. The governor's lawyers will respond to those accusations later in the week.
Special Counsel Jack Sharman opened by saying that impeachment is the "people's check" on political excess.
The hearings are the start of a lengthy process that could end with Bentley being removed from office.
The Republican governor has acknowledged making personal mistakes but has denied doing anything illegal or anything that would merit removal from office.
A spokeswoman says scandal-plagued Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is not personally involved in any negotiations to resign.
Yasamie August made the statement Monday morning as the House Judiciary Committee was set to begin impeachment hearings.
Asked if there were any discussions about resignation, August said the response was the same that the governor was not personally involved in any negotiations.
Bentley has struggled to shake off a scandal after recordings surfaced last year of him making romantic and sexually charged comments in 2014 to a top female aide before his divorce. The Republican governor has acknowledged making personal mistakes but has denied doing anything illegal or anything that would merit removal from office.
The hearings are the start of a lengthy process that could end with Bentley being removed from office. The committee will decide whether to recommend impeachment. If the House votes to impeach Bentley, he will automatically be removed from his duties and can only be returned to office if acquitted in a trial-like proceeding before the Alabama Senate.
Alabama lawmakers are set to begin impeachment hearings for Gov. Robert Bentley as they consider whether to try ousting the governor over accusations he used state resources to hide an affair with a top aide.
The House Judiciary Committee scheduled a week of hearings to open Monday that will culminate with a vote on whether to recommend his impeachment.
The Republican governor has acknowledged making personal mistakes but has denied doing anything that would merit removal from office.
Monday is expected to bring another round of legal filings in the escalating tensions between the governor and the Republican-controlled Legislature. The Alabama Supreme Court asked for briefs on Bentley's claims that the proposed impeachment hearings don't allow him to adequately respond to the accusations.