Alabama Supreme Court Orders Impeachment Hearings for Gov. Robert Bentley


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Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley vowed he would not resign at a news conference outside the Capitol building in Montgomery on Friday.

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Albert Cesare/The Montgomery Advertiser, via Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Gov. Robert Bentley will face impeachment hearings beginning Monday after the State Supreme Court here allowed lawmakers on Saturday to proceed with an effort to oust the governor, who is fighting to stay in office after the fallout from an affair with a top aide.

The Alabama Supreme Court reversed a short-lived victory for Mr. Bentley. A judge had blocked impeachment proceedings on Friday. After the Supreme Court’s ruling, the State House Judiciary Committee announced plans to proceed with hearings on Monday.

Mr. Bentley, 74, a dermatologist and former Baptist deacon, has been engulfed in a sex scandal since recordings surfaced in 2016 of him making suggestive remarks to a female aide before he and his wife of 50 years divorced.

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

“I do not plan to resign. I have done nothing illegal,” Mr. Bentley said at a news conference on Friday at the State Capitol. “If the people want to know if I misused state resources, the answer is simply no. I have not.”

Mr. Bentley’s legal team has argued that the proposed hearings are fundamentally unfair and do not give the governor the adequate opportunity to respond to accusations. The State Supreme Court justices have asked for briefs on the matter to be filed by Monday.

“It’s disappointing to hear the committee will plow forward while the Supreme Court is considering the case. We have no idea what the committee has planned for Monday or who its witnesses will be,” said Mr. Bentley’s lawyer, Ross Garber.

Jack Sharman, who was appointed special counsel in the case by the House Judiciary Committee, said the committee’s position is that it is free to proceed with the hearings.

The development was the latest in a wild week in Alabama politics as the Republican governor battled the Republican-controlled Alabama Legislature over his possible impeachment. The Alabama Ethics Commission found probable cause on Wednesday that Mr. Bentley broke ethics and campaign laws and referred the matter for possible prosecution.

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