|"Luv Guv" and Rebekah Mason, out|
on the town.
Does this cause you to do a "face palm"? Well, it's the latest in a story we broke here at Legal Schnauzer on August 31, 2015, way ahead of anyone else -- and roughly seven months before the mainstream media (MSM) took it seriously. Alabama's MSM, in fact, only stuck its feet in the water after repeatedly trashing me for breaking a story that was "only smoke," at a news site that had "dubious credibility."
When the press started asking last week about the passengers on Bentley's voyage to Washington, D.C., officials initially went into a four-corners stall. After much feet shuffling, the Bentley administration admitted that Rebekah Caldwell Mason and Jon Mason accompanied the governor on a state plane bound for the Trump ceremonies. Aside from the slightly kinky sound of things, how stupid is this?
Bentley already is under threat of impeachment, in part, for allegedly using state funds and property to facilitate his affair with Mason (Rebekah, not Jon, we think). He supposedly is under a federal investigation, headed by the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, on a similar set of allegations. He reportedly is under investigation for unlawfully using state and federal resources to target journalists -- including yours truly -- who reported early on the Mason affair. And he faces at least two lawsuits from former state employees who claim they were forced out of their jobs because they knew about the affair and tried to intervene. God only knows how many more lawsuits will surface in the future.
How did "Luv Guv" Bentley's latest surge of stupidity become public? From a report at al.com:
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley released the names of four of the five people who accompanied him on state aircraft to last week's inauguration of President Donald Trump.
Those names include Jon Mason, director of Serve Alabama, and Mason's wife, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, who was Bentley's suspected former mistress and an ex-adviser to the governor.
Also on the aircraft were legislative director Wesley Helton; Zach Lee, the governor's liaison to cities and counties; and an unnamed special guest, Bentley said.
What's this about an unidentified "special guest"? Can this story get more strange? Bentley called it a "working trip." If that's the case, why was Rebekah Caldwell Mason along? She officially resigned as his adviser months ago, so what "work" was she there to perform? Are Alabama taxpayers suppose to be on the hook for the governor's girlfriend and her air travel and other expenses? (According to an al.com report this morning, the state won't pay for Rebekah Mason's expenses.)
It's not clear how many, if any, ethics laws Bentley might have broken with this "charade" (to borrow a term from one of our favorite M*A*S*H characters, Dr. Charles Emerson Winchester III, especially since his pronunciation rhymes, sort of, with "tripod."). But this much seems clear: The whole unseemly episode, which already has led to "Home Wrecky Becky's" ouster, and could lead to impeachment and even prison time for Bentley, likely would have never been known without our reporting at Legal Schnauzer.
I'm convinced the MSM never would have written about the story if our coverage had not broken it into the open. The only other "early arrival" on the scene was attorney Donald Watkins, via reports on his Facebook page. But Watkins, who wrote about Rebekah Mason after I reported her name, had spent weeks hinting that Bentley was having a homosexual affair with his security chief, Wendell Ray Lewis. In other words, Watkins did not even have his genders straight, so it's not clear if he had solid sources at the time or not.
This much seems clear: Bentley and one or more Masons have engaged in serious abuse of the public trust, the kind that should lead to prison time if our "justice mechanism" isn't broken beyond repair. That's powerful stuff, and the Bentley Gang almost surely would have gotten away, without any public knowledge, had our blog not latched onto the story -- accurately and forcefully -- long before anyone else did.
I've had two lawsuits filed against me -- neither of which proved, as a matter of law, that my reporting was false or defamatory -- I've been thrown in jail for five months because of my reporting; and my wife currently has an arrest warrant for "assault" on a deputy in Missouri (an incident which ended with HER arm being broken). We even lost our home of 25 years in Birmingham to a wrongful foreclosure that was an attempt to shut down my reporting.
Carol and I have paid one hell of a price for my accurate reporting on corruption in Alabama and elsewhere. We essentially stepped into a breech left by Alabama's lazy, timid, and ethically compromised MSM. The public knows about Robert Bentley's shenanigans because of this one-man blog, which has been ranked among the top 50 law blogs in North America. The public also knows about corrupt acts of Jeff Sessions, Bill Pryor, Rob Riley, Liberty Duke, Bob Riley, Luther Strange -- to name just a few -- because of this blog.
No matter how goofy the Bentley story becomes, it is a serious matter. We hope the public remembers that. And we hope the public remembers who is responsible for the whole sordid mess becoming known.