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Alabama Ethics Commission expected to hear Bentley case on Wednesday

07 April 2017

Bentley left the RSA Union building, where the hearing was taking place, early Wednesday evening.

On Tuesday, a year to the day since articles of impeachment were first brought against the governor, the Alabama Ethics Commission met in secret to discuss Bentley, according to two state officials who asked not to be named.

The commission, in a series of public votes after hours of private meetings, found probable cause that Bentley violated both the Alabama Ethics Act and the Fair Campaign Practices Act.

A state ethics panel on Wednesday found probable cause that Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley broke state ethics and campaign finance law in a sex-tinged scandal that has engulfed him for more than a year. If the commission votes to refer the matter for prosecution, it could give also political ammunition to lawmakers who want to impeach him.

Collier had accused Bentley of misusing state funds in an alleged affair for former aide Rebekah Mason. The committee met several times past year after the articles were filed on April 5 and even went so far as to subpoena the governor, Mason and others close to them. However, he maintains he did nothing illegal. State prosecutors are also looking into possible wrongdoing by the governor.

"Based on the forecast and prediction of the National Weather Service Offices for Alabama, individuals should prepare for the potential of multiple rounds of severe weather tomorrow", Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director, Art Faulkner said.

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For example, Byrne said Bentley loaned money to his campaign so he could pay legal bills. Special counsel Jack Sharman, under a tentative schedule he released, plans to kick off proceedings Friday with the release of a report.

"We strongly disagree with the result, but I think it is important to keep in mind that it is a finding of probable cause, not a finding of violation", Athanas said in response to the announcement. If the House does impeach, the Senate would later hold a trial to decide whether to permanently remove Bentley from office or clear him of any charges. Athanas declined to say whether he testified.

Audio of Bentley making suggestive comments later surfaced.

"Alabama is no stranger to the impact severe weather can have on communities and the devastation that can occur when the weather takes a turn for the worse", Bentley said.

The AEC said Bentley violated state ethics law by using public resources, such as personnel, equipment and time under his control, for personal interest. Mason resigned last year, the same year Dianne Bentley, the governor's wife of 50 years, saw her divorce made final.