Bentley impeachment committee in recess - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Bentley impeachment committee in recess

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

The impeachment hearings for Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley are in recess. No restart time was given, but members were asked to stay close.

The House Judiciary Committee started its proceedings at the Alabama State House at 10 a.m. Monday.

Monday afternoon, Jack Sharman, the committee's special counsel, went over the impeachment report.

You can watch the impeachment hearings on air or on our app. Also, follow us on social media for instant updates and the latest developments.?

Sharman spent much of the morning going over the rules of impeachment.

Sharman said during his investigation he didn't receive much cooperation from the governor's office, adding they didn't provide things like text messages Sharman was able to get from other sources.

SLIDESHOW: Emails, texts from Gov. Bentley investigation

Sharman also said the governor routinely used a Comcast email address to discuss state business, including sensitive law enforcement business.

On Friday, the committee released a 131-page report saying Bentley "encouraged an atmosphere of intimidation" and directed a state law enforcement officer to "advance his personal interests." They committee also released a website that includes documents and exhibits related to the investigation.

Bentley filed an emergency temporary restraining order Friday to prevent the committee from proceeding with the hearings, but on Saturday the Alabama Supreme Court issued a stay on that order, allowing the hearings to move forward.

During the hearings, the House Judiciary Committee will work to consider whether to oust Bentley over accusations he used state resources to hide an affair with his former top aide Rebekah Mason.

If the committee recommends impeachment, the Alabama House of Representatives will then vote and if the House does impeach Bentley, a Senate trial will determine whether he is removed from office. 

The Alabama Republican Party Steering Committee, House Speaker Mac McCutcheon and Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh have all called for Bentley's resignation in the days since the impeachment report was released.

During a hastily-called news conference on the Alabama Capitol steps Friday, Bentley addressed the public and asked for forgiveness. While he admitted he had made mistakes, he said he has no plans to resign.

On Wednesday, the Alabama Ethics Commission found probable cause the governor broke state ethics and campaign finance laws and referred their findings to the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office for possible prosecution. 

On Monday, Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey sent a letter to acting Attorney General Ellen Brooks referring Bentley's case to her office.

"In order to prevent duplication of effort or interference with your investigation, I am hereby sending this referral to you," Bailey wrote in a letter to Acting Attorney General Ellen Brooks. "I am very confident that you will handle this in a professional manner and will diligently seek the truth in this matter as you have done previously over your 30 year plus history as a prosecutor."

Bentley has maintained he has done nothing illegal or of the level worthy of impeachment.

Copyright 2017 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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