Governor won’t release documents given to impeachment probe

bentley and mason

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s office said it won’t release a set of documents turned over to an impeachment committee, for now.

Bentley spokeswoman Yasamie August said Thursday that the materials “will not be made public at this time.” Several news organizations had requested copies of the material given to the House Judiciary Committee.

The governor’s office cited a November letter from Attorney General Luther Strange asking the impeachment committee to suspend proceedings while his office pursued related work. The governor’s office also cited an Alabama Supreme Court decision on what constitutes a public record.

The court decision said there are exemptions to what must be released publicly, including records given to a “public officer in confidence, sensitive personnel records, pending criminal investigations, and records the disclosure of which would be detrimental to the best interests of the public.”

The governor’s office had released a first batch of documents given to the committee.

Twenty-three lawmakers signed impeachment articles against Bentley after he was accused of having an affair with a top staffer. The governor has admitted to inappropriate remarks and behavior but said he did not have sexual affair.

The slow-moving investigation came to a pause last month at Strange’s request.

“I respectfully request that the committee cease active interviews and investigation until I am able to report to you that the necessary related work of my office has been completed,” Strange wrote in the letter.

The governor’s attorney said last month that he knew of no investigation by the attorney general into the governor or his staff.

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