|Gov. Robert Bentley and
Rebekah Caldwell Mason
The governor's office yesterday announced the settlement, and it came four weeks after Dianne Bentley filed a divorce complaint, alleging the marriage had suffered an "irretrievable breakdown."
Nowhere in reports of the settlement is mention of the real reason for the divorce--that Bentley is going through a late "mid-life crisis," falling madly in love with a woman almost 30 years his junior and dumping his wife in a shameful manner. This comes from a politician who consistently has touted his Bible-thumping ways and overt Christian faith.
Where does major deception enter the picture? Consider this from an Associated Press report on the settlement:
The settlement was filed Monday, just four weeks after the first lady filed for divorce, saying their marriage had suffered an "irretrievable breakdown." The governor said he has asked a judge to unseal the case file so the public and media can see it.
"Today, Dianne and I have reached a mutual agreement in our proceedings. I have asked Judge Philip Lisenby to unseal settlement documents so the public and the media will have full access to it. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. I am truly blessed and deeply honored to serve as your governor."
A judge sealed the divorce file from public view three days after it was filed at the request of the Bentleys.
First, you will notice that the story says two different things. In the first highlighted area above, AP reporter Kim Chandler writes that Bentley has asked a judge to unseal "the case file," presumably the entire case file. In the second highlighted area, Bentley is quoted as saying he asked Judge Philip Lisenby to "unseal settlement documents," which presumably would leave the rest of the case sealed.
Bentley, it seems, can't keep his story straight--or Alabama journalists can't get it straight, or both. Either way, it's highly likely that the case file will say absolutely nothing about Rebekah Caldwell Mason or the real reasons behind the divorce.
We already know that Dianne Bentley's original complaint contained boilerplate language that is used to start many divorces and often reveals nothing. Now that the case has settled so quickly, you can rest assured that the settlement papers also will contain dry, unrevelatory language.
In fact, an al.com report just out confirms that the documents have been unsealed and revealed pretty much zilch.
This does tell us one thing of substance: Dianne Bentley probably got a pretty nice settlement, in exchange for making sure the case went away quickly and contained no documents that would shine light on Robert Bentley's abominable behavior in recent months. This probably means the governor intends to fight and claw to keep his exalted position.
Obviously, I'm not a divorce lawyer--and thankfully, I've never been through a divorce myself--but I've seen enough files to know how such cases often play out. Any information that cuts to the core of real issues behind a divorce are likely to come from the discovery process. That generally includes answers to interrogatories (which can be quite probing in divorce cases), transcripts of depositions (given under oath), and material produced during requests for production of documents.
This third category could have been particularly dicey for Gov. Bentley. Imagine if Dianne Bentley had requested copies of e-mails, phone records, and text messages between the governor and Ms. Mason. That likely would have revealed the real Robert Bentley to a public that has been duped into believing he is a man of genuine faith and high morals--and elected him twice primarily because it was believed that, contrary to his predecessor (Bob Riley), he would at least behave in an honest, honorable fashion.
If the divorce case had gone on long enough for the file to contain e-mails and texts between Gov. Bentley and Ms. Mason, is there any chance it ever would have been unsealed? The answer to that question, in my view, is an overwhelming no.
So Robert Bentley is trying to convince the public that he is promoting transparency by asking for the court file to be unsealed--when, in fact, he's pulling another con on the citizens of Alabama.
On top of that, Robert Bentley proves himself to be a coward. He's happy to have a divorce file unsealed, once he knows it will contain nothing of substance, when it won't reveal that he truly is a creep, a lowlife, and a cheater.
Bentley has sunk so low that he almost makes Bob Riley look honorable by comparison--and I didn't think that was possible.