Alabama's governor resigns to avoid impeachment amid allegations of affair
Robert Bentley stepped down to avoid impeachment, pleading guilty to charges that arose during the investigation of an alleged affair with top aide
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Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley resigned Monday after fighting for more than a year against allegations he used public resources to carry out and conceal an affair with his former top aide.
The 74-year-old Republican and onetime Baptist deacon was at peace with the decision to step down, according to a former administration member who was not authorized to release the information and spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, as reported in The Guardian.
The sex-tinged scandal gathered force over the past few days and turned up the pressure by opening impeachment hearings on Monday. Last week, the Alabamaethics commission cited evidence that Bentley broke state ethics and campaign laws and referred the matter to prosecutors.
Bentley also pleaded guilty on Monday to two misdemeanor charges related to covering up the alleged affair, one for failing to file a major contribution report and another for knowingly using campaign contributions for personal use, according to the state's attorney general office.
“I love the people of this state with all my heart,” he told reporters as he announced his resignation inside the Alabama State Capitol, as reported in The Washington Post.
GOP leaders in the House and Senate have called on Bentley to resign, as has the Alabama Republican party’s steering committee.
Two of Bentley’s predecessors in the past three decades have been convicted of crimes: Republican Guy Hunt in the 1990s, for misusing funds, and Democrat Don Siegelman, who was convicted of bribery in 2006.