|Rebekah and Jon Mason|
Mason becomes the second major Alabama political figure to step down in the past year in the wake of investigative reporting that originated with this blog. The other was former U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller, known mainly for causing former governor Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy to be unlawfully sent to prison,
Fuller formally resigned on August 1, 2015, after revelations that he had beaten his second wife in an Atlanta hotel room. That came not long after our reports that Fuller's divorce from his first wife included allegations of domestic violence and substance abuse. Once wife-beating stories surfaced, the earlier reports about Fuller's first divorce probably sealed his fate because they showed a pattern of abusive behavior in his personal life.
As for Mason, she stepped down with her version of the classic "I want to spend more time with my family" bit:
I have resigned as Senior Political Advisor to Governor Bentley and will no longer be paid from his campaign fund. I have also ended my work with the Alabama Council For Excellent Government. My only plans are to focus my full attention on my precious children and my husband who I love dearly. They are the most important people in my life. Thank you for your prayers for our family.
No word if Mason's future plans include allowing a non-spouse, who happens to hold a powerful public position, to caress her breasts and explore her nether regions. Imagine what she and Bentley would have done if their relationship had been "physical."
Where does the Bentley scandal go now? For the answer to that question, we turn to Birmingham attorney Donald Watkins, who has more than a little knowledge about high-level criminal-defense work. Watkins also knows how low Bentley can go when threatened. According to reports earlier this week, Bentley targeted Watkins and me for law-enforcement attention in an effort to halt our reporting on the Mason affair.
Watkins' thoughts can be found via a Facebook post titled "Bentley will not resign; feds must indict him." Here are highlights:
It's official. Alabama Republican Governor Robert Bentley is not resigning. Instead, he is throwing political consultant/swinging partner Rebekah Mason and her husband Jonathan under the bus. Bentley is also expected to sacrifice chief legal advisor David Byrne in a desperate bid to save his job.
Bentley is privately telling a few trusted friends that Rebekah and Byrne are to blame for everything involved in his "sex for power" scandal and public corruption activities because he simply trusted them and relied upon their professional advice. He is also claiming that Rebekah started flirting with him early on in their professional relationship and eventually seduced him around 2014. According to Bentley, he gave in to Rebekah's charm, but has now come to his senses.
Remarkably, Bentley thinks the public will forgive him if he distances himself from Rebekah. The governor is implementing the deal he struck with AL.com in exchange for their editorial board support. He is forcing Rebekah to resign.
Bentley must be hoping Mason doesn't notice the bus that just steamrolled her. But Watkins has other ideas:
If I were Rebekah's lawyer, I would strongly recommend that she contact the federal agents who are investigating this matter ASAP because Bentley has already decided his course of action. Rebekah should tell federal investigators all that she knows.
That sounds like wise counsel to me; it's the same approach indicted House Speaker Mike Hubbard should have taken months ago with Bob and Rob Riley. Hubbard was not smart enough to follow that path. How smart will Rebekah Mason be in making her next move?
After all, resigning will not free her from the scrutiny of criminal investigators.