The Alabama Supreme Court on Saturday allowed the impeachment of Governor Robert Bentley to start next week, staying a temporary restraining order from a lower court that had blocked hearings, court documents showed.
"We are gratified that the Alabama Supreme Court acted promptly and that the restraining order against the Judiciary Committee is stayed", said Jack Sharman, a partner with Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC and special counsel to the Judiciary Committee. Robert Bentley (R) will begin on Monday after a judge previously halted the hearings from proceeding, The Associated Press reported.
The unanimous decision means the process that could lead to Bentley's removal from office - sparked by allegations that the governor had an affair with senior political adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason and misused state resources pursuing it - will resume Monday morning.
"... In the spring 2014, Governor Bentley mistakenly sent to Ms. Bentley a text message that stated, "I love you Rebekah" and was accompanied by a red-rose emoji", the report states.
The committee, following a week or so of hearings, will make a recommendation to the full House of Representatives on whether Bentley should be impeached.
The special counsel in an impeachment probe of Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley urged a judge to let lawmakers move forward with hearings and the release of his investigative report.
The development was the latest in a wild week in Alabama politics as the Republican governor battled the Republican-controlled Alabama Legislature over his possible impeachment. Bentley has acknowledged making personal mistakes but maintained he did nothing illegal.
The governor's lawyers argued the process was unfair to Bentley, while Sharman said impeachment proceedings were a legislative matter outside the court's jurisdiction.
A text message that's been at the center of the Governor Robert Bentley impeachment investigation, but has been a mystery until now, was revealed in a report released Friday.
"That panel says there's probable cause that the governor violated state campaign finance laws".
Attorneys for the committee and Gov. Bentley have a Monday deadline to file briefs on the appeal.
The 74-year-old governor hastily called a news conference in which he told constituents he knew he had let them down.