Tentative impeachment schedule for AL Gov. Bentley released

Tentative impeachment schedule for AL Gov. Bentley released

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The House Judiciary Committee has released a tentative schedule for possible impeachment proceedings of Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.

Jack Sharman, the special counsel for the HJC, sent a letter with the schedule to committee members on Tuesday. Sharman indicates in the letter that the schedule is tentative because, "there are a number of variables, both internal and external, that could have an impact on the schedule." One of those, Sharman indicates, could be a possible lawsuit filed by the office of the governor or Bentley personally.

According to the schedule, the committee is expected to receive a written report of the investigation by the special counsel by 5 p.m. on April 7. The report will then be made available to the public. Between the dates of April 10 and 13, the committee will host hearings where the special counsel and governor's office will be able to present witnesses, if any, to be followed by a response by the special counsel.

The schedule then says on April 14, the special counsel will present a summation of the hearings during a committee meeting. On May 1, the committee will debate and vote on the proposed committee report and articles, if any. On May 9, the House is expected to consider the committee's findings.

Officials stress, the dates for the schedule are all tentative and depend on internal and external factors.

On Monday, the Associated Press Reported that House Speaker Mac McCutcheon said the Alabama Ethics Commission would report its findings April 5, and that report will be a significant factor for lawmakers considering grounds for impeachment.

While Bentley has apologized for his steamy remarks, captured in recorded conversations before his divorce, he has denied a sexual affair and says he broke no laws.

Gov. Bentley's attorney, Ross Garber issued this statement:

"Apparently the outside lawyer for the Judiciary Committee has decided that the only way to accomplish the first ever impeachment of an Alabama Governor is to violate the law. The Alabama Supreme Court and the Rules of the House of Representatives require that the Governor be given due process. Common sense dictates that an election not be overthrown without fair procedures. I have confidence that responsible members of the Judiciary Committee will not allow their proceedings to be hijacked and turned into a kangaroo court."

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