|Robert Bentley and Rebekah Mason|
Meanwhile, State Rep. Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) today outlined articles of impeachment against Bentley. Henry said he hopes to have a vote on his resolution next week.
As fort he federal investigation, other members of the Bentley administration and campaign team could face charges, attorney Donald Watkins reports on his Facebook page, but the probe is expected to focus on the governor and his advisor/mistress. The investigation is under the direction of the U.S. Justice Department's Public Integrity Section, based in Washington, D.C., Watkins reports:
Our Facebook news team has confirmed this afternoon that federal prosecutors in Washington are expected to bring public corruption charges against Governor Robert Bentley and his mistress/political consultant, Rebekah Mason. Other gubernatorial and campaign staffers may be charged as well.
The focus of the federal probe is on Bentley and Mason, and it is intense. Mason’s involvement in the corruption scheme was more extensive than what has been publicly reported.
As for Bentley's efforts to sic law enforcement on Watkins and me in retaliation for our accurate reporting about his affair with Mason, that also was more extensive than has been publicly reported. Writes Watkins:
In violation of federal laws, the governor also ordered state law enforcement officials to use the federal National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the Law Enforcement Tactical System (LETS), as well as data banks of other state and federal regulatory agencies, to find any incriminating evidence that might be used against Legal Schnauzer blogger Roger Alan Shuler and me. Accessing the national criminal databases for the purpose of retaliating against the governor’s critics and political adversaries is a federal offense.
Earlier reports indicated former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) chief Spencer Collier refused to carry out Bentley's order to seek dirt via the NCIC and LETS. But Watkins reports that Bentley went beyond seeking criminal data, and that raises this question: Did Bentley find someone to carry out his unlawful mission against Watkins and me, and if so, who was it?
Prosecutors apparently do not expect the Bentley/Mason case to be particularly challenging. Writes Watkins:
Prosecutors have determined that they do not need the assistance or cooperation of Rebekah Mason in bringing the expected criminal charges. They have determined that the Bentley-Mason public corruption was widespread, ingrained, and fairly open. Staffers who tried to reign in this corruption were chastised by the governor and, in some cases, fired and later smeared.
Bentley appears to be in an unstable state of mind, and that could lead prosecutors to turn to an unusual tactic:
This morning, Bentley announced that he has asked God to forgive him. He again asked the people of Alabama to forgive him. Bentley did not specify why he needed forgiveness. Federal prosecutors, however, are not expected to forgive the governor.
Despite a mountain of evidence that Bentley personally directed or approved specific acts of public corruption, the governor has refused to resign. Individuals with close contact with the governor say that Bentley is erratic, delusional, and paranoid at this juncture. For this reason, federal prosecutors are considering expediting the initiation of the criminal justice process by filing of a prosecutor’s “complaint,” as opposed to using the longer and more standard criminal indictment process.
Our news team was not able to confirm when the criminal charges against Bentley and Mason will be filed.