Alabama governor halts impeachment, not disparaging report

Alabama governor halts impeachment, not disparaging report

Alabama governor halts impeachment, not disparaging report

FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, file photo, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley speaks during the annual State of the State address at the Capitol, in Montgomery, Ala.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Greg Griffin granted a temporary restraining order after the report's release, allowing Bentley 10 days to respond before impeachment proceedings can continue.

Bentley initially admitted to speaking inappropriately to Mason, but denied having a sexual relationship with her.

Sharman says Bentley directed law enforcement staffers to try to uncover who had recorded conversations of him and Mason.

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".

After the high court's ruling, the House Judiciary Committee quickly announced plans to proceed with hearings on Monday.

Bentley's attorney Ross Garber issued a statement Saturday, saying they are disappointed.

Her husband, Jon Mason, was appointed by Bentley as executive director of the Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. That staffer later told the investigating committee that she found messages on her vehicle that said "die bitch" and "you will f-ing die". Among them is how Ms. Bentley confirmed the extramarital relationship thanks to the Governor's lack of technological know-how.

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During their investigation, the special counsel staff found that the governor had ordered law enforcement officers to attempt to recover copies of the audiotape from people who may have possessed them and, at one point, end his relationship with Mason for him.

Bentley has vowed to stay in office despite growing calls for his resignation.

Mrs. Bentley's suspicions that her husband was having an affair started when she learned Mason was spending the night in the pool house at the Governor's Mansion in Montgomery in September 2013.

Bentley faces four charges, or articles, of impeachment: willful neglect of duty, corruption in office, incompetency and moral turpitude.

The special counsel to the Judiciary Committee, Sharman, has said the committee hadn't violated any due process rights.

Another high-ranking Alabama Republican is urging Gov. Robert Bentley to step down before lawmakers begin impeachment hearings next week.

Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh and House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, leaders in the Republican-controlled Legislature, have both called on the governor to step aside. Garber said that since 1929 only two USA governors have been removed by impeachment and both were under criminal indictment.

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