Alabama Guv Resigns, Is Convicted On 2 Campaign Finance Charges

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) resigned Monday evening, AL.com reported, bringing an end to a drawn-out, year-long scandal sparked by his alleged affair with a former top aide.

He was booked in Montgomery County Jail on one count of failure to disclose information of economic interest, a misdemeanor, and for failure to file campaign finance reports, according to jail records.

Bentley’s booking record and a mugshot of the governor, smiling slightly, were briefly accessible on the Montgomery County Sheriff’s site. Bond was set at $300 per count.

“I have decided it is time for me to step down as Alabama’s governor,” Bentley said in a brief on-camera address. “I am leaving this office that I have held, that I have respected, that I have loved for seven years to focus on other and possibly more effective areas of service.”

He acknowledged that there have been times “I have let you and our people down.”

“I’m sorry for that,” Bentley said.

Under the terms of his plea deal, Bentley, a 74-year-old dermatologist, will serve two years probation, perform 100 hours of unpaid community service as a physician, and agree to never hold public office again, according to AL.com. He must also repay $8,912 that his campaign spent on legal fees for Mason, and turn the $25,000 in his campaign account over to the state.

Thanks to this deal, reached after days of negotiations between Bentley’s lawyers and state prosecutors, the state attorney general’s office will not pursue additional felonies charges recommended against him last week by the Alabama Ethics Commission.

Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) is set to be sworn in as governor on Monday night.

Bentley’s resignation comes after the House Judiciary Committee on Friday released a 131-page special investigator’s report alongside hundreds of pages of exhibits documenting the lurid details of his alleged relationship with Mason. The governor’s ex-wife, Dianne, provided much of the evidence. Because the governor had gifted her his state-issued iPad, which was connected to his state-issued cell phone’s cloud, Dianne Bentley received all of her then-husband’s mushy, emoji-filled text messages to his former aide. She took copious screenshots of those exchanges, and also collaborated with her former chief-of-staff, Heather Hannah, to capture secret recordings of the governor’s phone conversations with Mason.

The report also details how Bentley tried to coerce state law enforcement officials into assisting with and covering up his affair. The governor ordered his body guard, Ray Lewis, and former Alabama Law Enforcement Secretary Spencer Collier to try to uncover the audio recordings and to intimidate Hannah into revealing their location.

TPM composite by Derick Dirmaier. This post has been updated.

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