DISCLAIMER: This site does not collect or share any personal information from our readers. We do not ‘phish’ or ‘troll’ or track our loyal readers.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
AG: Bentley plea does not necessarily conclude investigation By Mary Sell Montgomery Bureau Apr 12, 2017 Updated 10 hrs ago 0
The Associated Press
Rebekah Caldwell Mason claps on Feb. 7 during then-Gov. Robert Bentley's annual State of the State address at the Capitol in Montgomery. Mason is a former adviser to Bentley, and he admitted saying inappropriate things to her. [BRYNN ANDERSON/ASSOCIATED PRESS/FILE]
MONTGOMERY — Former Gov. Robert Bentley’s resignation and plea agreement this week “concluded the investigation as to the former governor, but does not necessarily conclude the investigation,” Special Assistant Attorney General Ellen Brooks said Tuesday.
She wouldn’t comment further.
Brooks said Monday she couldn’t comment on specific people when asked if former Bentley adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason may be charged.
“You’ve been around long enough to know a good investigator never talks out loud about that,” Brooks told reporters.
“It’s not necessarily over,” she said on video captured by Alabama Public Television. “There are other matters that other agencies may be looking at.”
A phone message and email for Mason’s attorney, Bobby Segall, weren’t returned Tuesday.
Bentley, 74, was accused of using state resources in order to cover up an alleged affair with Mason while both of them were married.
He pleaded guilty Monday to two misdemeanor charges. One stemmed from a $50,000 loan he made to his campaign in November that investigators said he failed to report until January. State law says major contributions should be reported within a few days. The other charge stemmed from his use of campaign funds to pay nearly $9,000 in legal bills for Mason last year.
State employees, in an investigatory report, said Mason wielded extreme control over Bentley and she’s been called the “de facto governor.” Others have questioned how she was paid. She wasn’t a state employee but was compensated out of Bentley’s campaign fund as well as a nonprofit that didn’t have to disclose its donors.
Mason, 44, resigned as Bentley’s adviser when accusations against the two were made public by former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency head Spencer Collier.
He accused both Bentley and Mason of interfering with state law enforcement.
Collier in April 2015 filed a nine-count wrongful termination civil lawsuit against Bentley, Mason and new ALEA chief Stan Stabler. If was stayed last year.
“At the current time it’s still stayed and Rebekah Mason still faces the possibility of criminal charges, so I don’t expect the stay to be lifted anytime soon,” Collier attorney Kenny Mendelsohn said Tuesday.
Ray Lewis, Bentley's former bodyguard, has a separate wrongful termination lawsuit pending against the former governor and Mason.
The court in Lewis' case ruled Tuesday that Mason "cannot be compelled to sit for a deposition at this time. Mason can petition the court for relief if she feels that any requested discovery impinges unduly on her right not to testify."
The ruling came in response to a motion filed in December by Mason and her wholly owned company, RCM Communications, noting that Mason "is, or may be, the subject of ongoing criminal investigations relating to, among other things, her prior employment as a Senior Political Advisor to Defendant Governor Robert Bentley."
She argued in the motion that requiring her to testify in the civil case would force her "to choose between asserting her Fifth Amendment rights and participating fully in the defense of this case."