Published: Mon, April 10, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Alabama Supreme Court allows impeachment of governor to proceed

Also noted in Saturday's Supreme Court decision - the House Judiciary Committee has to file its brief no later than 10:00 a.m. on Monday. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley walks to the podium before a news conference on Friday, April 7, 2017, outside the Alabama Capitol building in Montgomery, Ala. The committee is seeking to overturn a judge's order that halted impeachment hearings that has been set to begin Monday. His troubles began last year when recordings surfaced of him making suggestive remarks to a former adviser, Rebekah Mason, before his wife of 50 years filed for divorce in August 2015.

State Rep. Ed Henry said Friday night if the judiciary committee doesn't resume impeachment hearings by Tuesday, he will introduce a rule change to bypass the committee and have a vote on impeachment as early as Thursday. Later in the day, before the report's release, Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon called on Bentley to resign. "It's disappointing to hear the Committee will plow forward while the Supreme Court is considering the case", he said in a statement.

Griffin issued a show cause order for May 15, which, barring a successful appeal, now freezes any hearings, proceedings, proposals or witnesses regarding a Bentley impeachment until that date.

The Alabama Supreme Court is allowing lawmakers to move forward with impeachment hearings against Gov. Robert Bentley, who has been fighting to stay in office after allegations that he inappropriately used his position to cover up an affair with a top aide.

The governor's lawyer called the report an "amalgam of hearsay rumor and innuendo".

The temporary restraining order, requested by the Governor's Office, requested ten days to review the impeachment report, which was released by Sharman and the House Judiciary Committee Friday afternoon.

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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".

The committee plans to begin its impeachment process on Monday.

Sharman on publicly released his report to the House Judiciary Committee on Friday. But he maintained he did nothing illegal and had no intentions of resigning.

On Wednesday, the Alabama Ethics Commission found that Bentley probably violated ethics and campaign finance laws.

"Gov. Bentley directed law enforcement to advance his personal interests and, in a process characterized by increasing obsession and paranoia, subjected career law enforcement officers to tasks meant to protect his reputation", the report said.

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