Alabama governor testifies to grand jury; inquiry unclear | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Alabama governor testifies to grand jury; inquiry unclear

July 14, 2016 - 3:24 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has testified before a grand jury, according to a person briefed on his appearance, a revelation that comes a day before legislators were to meet to push forward with efforts to impeach him over his relationship with a former aide.

Bentley appeared Wednesday, said the person, who was not authorized to discuss a secret grand jury proceeding publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Bentley's private life has been under the microscope in recent months after he admitted making inappropriate remarks to the aide, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. He denied having an affair with her before his wife of 50 years divorced him. His testimony comes on the heels of House Speaker Mike Hubbard's conviction on corruption charges and the suspension of Chief Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore.

Montgomery Circuit Judge Gene Reese on May 23 granted a request from the attorney general's office to convene a grand jury to investigate "certain matters." The request was filed by the head of the division that investigates public corruption. The grand jury was to be assembled July 11.

The governor's lawyer and press office declined to comment on the governor's appearance.

In March, the governor's office sent the attorney general a report detailing the possible misuse of state funds at the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency under then-Secretary Spencer Collier. Collier, who was fired by Bentley, accused the governor of interfering in a law enforcement investigation and of having an affair. The governor denied the accusations.

Collier accused Bentley of firing him because the two disagreed over a request to file an affidavit saying investigators found no evidence of misconduct by state prosecutors in the ethics case against former House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

Collier has said he wanted to file the affidavit requested by the attorney general's office, but the governor didn't want him to do so.

A jury convicted Hubbard on June 10 of breaking the state ethics law. The attorney general's office requested the new grand jury while that trial was still ongoing.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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