High Court Greenlights Impeachment Proceedings For Alabama Governor

Posted April 10, 2017

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley won a court fight Friday to halt his looming impeachment hearings, but couldn't prevent the release of an investigative report that describes his paranoia and obsession over trying to keep his romance with a staffer from becoming public.

The Supreme Court asked both sides to file briefs by Monday morning. Lawyers for the governor rushed to court and appeared before two judges to stop the impeachment proceedings, which were set to begin Monday. The Governor's Office has until 1:00 p.m. Monday.

Attorneys for the committee and Gov. Bentley have a Monday deadline to file briefs on the appeal. Bentley has steadfastly refused to resign despite calls from legislative leaders for him to step aside.

"It's the only way to avoid taking the state on a long, painful and embarrassing journey whose ending is likely already known to us all", McCutcheon said Friday.

HJC special counsel Jack Sharman said the separation of powers prevented the judicial branch from getting involved, but an attorney for the governor appealed to the judge's emotions saying "they just want you to roll over and do nothing".

"It's disappointing to hear the committee will plow forward while the Supreme Court is considering the case", the statement said.

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Bentley's lawsuit calls the impeachment process "fundamentally unfair".

The case was then assigned to Judge Roman Shaul, a Bentley appointee, who listened as the governor's legal team fought for a temporary injunction against the committee, seeking to prevent it from making recommendations concerning impeachment or conducting any proceedings that don't afford the governor due process of law.

Bentley has insisted nothing he did was illegal and said Friday he would not resign.

The governor Friday apologized for his actions, but criticized those who he said had "taken pleasure in humiliating and shaming me and shaming my family, shaming my friends". A state court on Friday had rejected Bentley's request to block the Judiciary Committee from releasing evidence about wrongdoing stemming from his relationship with Mason to be used for impeachment proceedings.

Ross Garber, the lawyer representing Bentley in the impeachment investigation, has urged lawmakers to be cautious. 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.

Bentley also ordered former Secretary of Alabama Law Enforcement Spencer Collier not to provide an affidavit to the Attorney General's Office.