The 130-page certificate capacity a months-long allegation analysis into Bentley’s accomplishments and says he was atrocious to accumulate account of the activity from overextension above the Governor’s Mansion, area it was allegedly accepted ability amid staffers.
“Governor Bentley directed law administration to beforehand his claimed interests and, in a activity characterized by accretion attraction and paranoia, subjected career law administration admiral to tasks advised to assure his reputation,” says the report, appear Friday.
The address by Jack Sharman, appropriate admonition to the state’s Abode Judiciary Committee, paints a account of a abortive controlling annex bedeviled by the activity of a Nixonian governor whose “loyalty confused from the Accompaniment of Alabama to himself.”
To accumulate his accord with Mason beneath wraps, “Governor Bentley encouraged an atmosphere of intimidation,” it says.
The report’s analysis complex interviews with added than 20 assemblage and a analysis of 10,000 pages of documents. Neither Bentley nor Mason assisted “in any allusive sense,” it says.
Time and again, the address addresses Bentley’s abnegation to abet with the analysis led by Sharman. It afresh expresses that the active two-term governor’s obstruction is itself area for impeachment.
The adjustment batty a acting allegation agenda appear by Sharman aftermost anniversary and gave Bentley 10 canicule to acknowledge to the committee’s report.
But on Saturday the Alabama Supreme Cloister apoplectic the order, putting the allegation hearings aback on clue to advance as originally planned Monday morning.
“We acknowledge the Court’s application of this austere case and are adequate by the result,” the governor’s attorney, Ross Garber, told CNN. “The Rule of Law applies. Alike in impeachments. Alike to the Alabama legislature.”
House Judiciary Board Chairman Mike Jones said in a account Friday, “We accept filed a apprehension of address gluttonous expedited activity from the Alabama Supreme Cloister to annul this order.” He said the board will still accommodated Monday to altercate Friday’s events.
Bentley has denied misusing accompaniment assets and said his accord with Mason was not physical.
“I accept done annihilation illegal,” Bentley said Friday. “If the bodies appetite to apperceive if I abolished accompaniment resources, the acknowledgment is artlessly no, I accept not.”
The Bentley-Mason accord
The address outlines the birth and agronomics of Bentley’s accord with Mason, from the time she abounding a Sunday academy chic he accomplished at Aboriginal Baptist Church Tuscaloosa. Bentley’s aboriginal attack for the governor’s appointment assassin her as columnist secretary.
Mason became the Administrator of Communications afterwards Bentley’s inauguration.
First adult Dianne Bentley’s suspicions about Mason developed in backward 2013 back she and associates of her agents began acquainted the governor and his communications administrator acceptable closer, the address says. Bentley’s behavior against his wife of about 50 years had changed, and the amore that had been so accustomed had about disappeared.
“If Governor Bentley meant to adumbrate his activity from his wife,” the address said, “he did not do it well.”
The aboriginal adult aboriginal confronted her bedmate about the accord in January 2014, but Bentley denied any impropriety.
The address goes on to account the ascent suspicions of Dianne Bentley, who filed for annulment in 2015, and those of her agents and the governor’s agents as angel amid the governor and Mason were added displayed in abounding view.
To the staff, the address says, “Governor Bentley’s accord with Mason was demography centermost date in his Administration and that he advised to abolish belief and altercation about the relationship.”
The address cites assorted assemblage who said the accord began to affect Bentley’s decisions, as he delegated added and added action decisions to Mason.
Neither Mason nor her advocate anon responded Saturday to CNN’s requests for comment.
The phone-call recordings
The recordings emerged aftermost year and were originally appear by media aperture AL.com. Afterward, both Bentley and Mason denied accepting a concrete activity with anniversary other.
Sharman’s address says that Dianne Bentley fabricated the recordings afterwards her arch of staff, Heather Hannah, accomplished her how to use her cellphone to almanac audio. The recordings in catechism were fabricated in March 2014, during a cruise to the Bentleys’ bank house.
After Governor Bentley abstruse of the recordings, he “became bedeviled with the actuality of the tapes and a admiration to anticipate them from acceptable public,” the address says.
Citing Hannah’s testimony, the address says Bentley threatened Hannah, who he believed was amenable for the recordings. “You will never assignment in the Accompaniment of Alabama afresh if you acquaint anyone about this,” Bentley allegedly told her in the kitchen of the Governor’s Mansion.
In a degradation to the Alabama Belief Commission in June 2016, Hannah said addition had vandalized her car, abrading “Bitch Die,” into the disciplinarian ancillary window and “You will f**king die” on the windshield.
Days later, as she was accepting accessible for bed, she said addition threw a bedrock through the window of her home. According to the report, Hannah said she believed the abuse was because of her affidavit to the Belief Commission.
Application accompaniment assets to ascendancy fallout
The address states the governor’s ability of the recordings led to him application his access over law administration to absolute admiral to ascendancy the fallout surrounding him and Mason, alike as he connected the affair.
One of the admiral active to appliance Bentley’s orders was the arch of his aegis detail and Arch of the Dignitary Protection Unit, Ray Lewis.
Lewis told board that alike afterwards Mason larboard the governor’s appointment to assignment for Bentley’s re-election campaign, Bentley insisted that she be able to biking with him on accompaniment planes and in accompaniment vehicles.
“Lewis says he told Governor Bentley several times of the charge to accumulate Mason’s movements abstracted from Governor Bentley’s official movements,” the address says, “and that he could not accommodate aegis casework to non-state personnel.” Still, Bentley would generally avoid Lewis’ requests and booty Mason along.
Flight logs from these trips, advised for the investigation, do not account Mason as a accompaniment to the governor, the address says.
Lewis abreast Spencer Collier, then-secretary of the Alabama Law Administration Agency, of inappropriate argument letters amid Bentley and Mason. The address calls Collier and Lewis the governor’s “most trusted law administration advisors.”
But back they confronted Bentley on a drive to Greenville about the activity and approved afterwards success to get him to breach things off with Mason, their relationships “deteriorated to the point of enmity.”
Collier warned Bentley that he would be breaking the law if he acclimated accompaniment assets or attack funds to added his accord with Mason, but Bentley denied any wrongdoing.
Affirmation of a cover-up?
According to the report, about the time of Bentley’s acclamation to his second-term in 2014, he began to use accompaniment law administration to chase for the recordings. He afresh directed Lewis and Collier and others to investigate and clue bottomward the recordings by analytic and alarming Heather Hannah and Linda Adams, Bentley’s scheduler, the address said.
Lewis testified that Bentley asked him to breach off the accord with Mason on the governor’s account on two abstracted occasions, but the governor never followed through.
Bentley additionally asked Lewis to retrieve the recordings from his son Paul — who the governor believed had them — and to “investigate who had a archetype of the recordings and analyze abeyant crimes with which they could be charged.”
Collier anchored appropriate agents from the Accompaniment Bureau of Investigations (SBI) who would conduct clandestine investigations for the governor. One of the agents, Scott Lee, said he was afflictive with Bentley and Collier’s requests.
“The objective, he felt, was not to break a crime, but to actuate who had the tapes,” the address says.
Bentley about accused Collier of abusage of accompaniment funds. The address addendum that an analysis by the Advocate General’s appointment austere Collier of the governor’s accusations.
Shortly afterwards his termination, Collier met with reporters and told them he’d apparent affirmation of Bentley’s activity with Mason and accused the governor of application accompaniment assets to awning it up.
But Bentley continues to abjure any atrocity in accessible comments.
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