Bentley lawyer: Payments not a violation of law

FILE -In this Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 file photo, Republican Gov. Robert Bentley listens to a phone call as Rebekah Mason, right, announces his win for Alabama governor, in Montgomery, Ala. Bentley defeated his opponent Democrat Parker Griffith. Bentley admitted Wednesday, March 23, 2016, that he made inappropriate remarks to his senior political adviser, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. Bentley said he did not have a sexual relationship with Mason, but he apologized to his family and Mason's for his behavior. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A lawyer for Gov. Robert Bentley is denying that his campaign fund violated the law by paying legal fees for a former aide with whom Bentley was accused of having an affair.

Bentley attorney William Athanas says the roughly $9,000 payment for legal fees of Rebekah Mason was consistent with state law. He says that’s because it involved work she performed as Bentley’s senior political adviser.

The lawyer’s claims are contained in a letter sent to the Alabama Ethics Commission and made public Friday. The letter follows allegations by Secretary of State John Merrill that the payments were illegal.

The former head of the state law enforcement agency has alleged Bentley had an affair with Mason.

Bentley has acknowledged personal mistakes but denies doing anything illegal.

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