Gov. Bentley denies Strange's Senate appointment is conflict of interest

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Gov. Robert Bentley and Sen. Luther Strange have long been seen as political adversaries, but Thursday that history appeared to be in the past.

Bentley recounted the campaigns and issues where they worked together. Strange defended the integrity of not commenting on investigations, whether existing or not.

"We have never said in our office that we are investigating the governor," Strange said. "It's somewhat unfair to him and unfair to the process."

The same week the governor appointed Strange to the U.S. Senate, and former aide Rebekah Mason was sighted assisting the governor and attending his State of the State address, many are questioning whether Bentley's decision would impact a possible investigation.

On Nov. 3, Strange wrote to the chairman of the Legislative Impeachment Committee, requesting that committee stand down their investigation into Gov. Bentley as the AG's Office looked into other related matters.

Thursday Strange gave that letter little credence.

"I think the letter speaks for itself," Strange said."I am going to leave that to the new AG, who I hope will be office soon, and off and running. I know our team wants to know who their new boss is. I am confident it will be a person of the highest integrity."

Strange placed great confidence in his legal team to continue the AG's work, which will be led by Acting AG Alice Martin.

Bentley stated he would begin the process to appoint a new AG Thursday afternoon, although sources close to the appointment process say interviews for the next attorney general have been underway.

Some see the governor's ability to appoint an attorney general - who could be responsible for his prosecution - as a conflict of interest.

"I will ask the next AG to uphold the laws of this state," Bentley said. "That's all I will ever ask."

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