Thursday, February 28, 2019

"Luv Guv" Bentley travels to Washington, D.C., with Rebekah Caldwell Mason, planning for 2020 U.S. Senate run that apparently would violate his plea deal


Robert "Luv Guv" Bentley and Rebekah Caldwell Mason
Robert "Luv Guv" Bentley, who resigned in disgrace as Alabama's chief philanderer almost two years ago, attended a recent national governors meeting with his paramour (Rebekah Caldwell Mason), according to a Facebook post by State Auditor Jim Zeigler. Both Zeigler and al.com reported that the trip likely is designed to set the stage for Bentley to make a 2020 U.S. Senate run -- even though his plea agreement on criminal charges held that he would never again hold public office.

How is Bentley planning to get around that provision in his plea agreement? The answer to that is not clear (although Zeigler has ideas), but the language in the deal Bentley struck with prosecutors is more broad than most Alabamians probably remember. Here is how al.com reported the key terms in an article dated April 10, 2017:

Bentley, as part of the deal, was expected to:

* Resign immediately and leave public life.

* Plead guilty to two campaign violations: converting campaign contributions for personal gain and failing to report campaign contributions. 
* Serve one year of probation.

*Perform 100 hours of unpaid community service as a physician.

*Repay the $8,912 his campaign spent on the legal fees of former aide Rebekah Mason, whose involvement with Bentley led to the charges against him.

*Forfeit all the money in his campaign account, which is currently $36,912. The money will go into state coffers.

In response, the state attorney general's office will not pursue other felonies against Bentley, including those referred for prosecution last week by the Alabama Ethics Commission.

Bentley might already have violated the first provision -- the one about leaving public life -- by attending the National Governors Association meeting last weekend in Washington, D.C. From a report at al.com:

Bentley tweeted out a photo showing him at the meeting with his “governor colleagues, former and current.”

“Looking forward to working with them and (the National Governors Association) as states tackle tough issues facing our country in trade, (criminal justice) reform, healthcare and jobs,” he tweeted.

Those attending the meeting heard from President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Cabinet secretaries and representatives from foreign countries.

Sounds like Bentley already has returned to public life, doesn't it? Is the Alabama Attorney General's Office supposed to enforce the "Luv Guv's" plea agreement? If so, are Steve Marshall and Co. asleep at the switch?

Al.com reported last August that Bentley was considering a return to politics, perhaps in a U.S. Senate run against Democrat Doug Jones. Reporter Leada Gore even noted the roadblock in Bentley's way:

Former Governor Robert Bentley, who resigned in 2017 as part of plea deal related to ethics and campaign finance violations, isn't ruling out a return to public life.

In an interview with political site Yellowhammer, Bentley was asked if would consider returning to public office, possibly in the U.S. Senate race against Democrat Doug Jones in 2020.

Bentley responded:

"I love serving the people of this state. Serving as governor was the greatest honor of my life. I have a heart for our people and I believe we are all called to serve one another in some capacity. I found public service was a way to do that. I believe what is missing in public service today is loving the people that you serve and wanting to help those who need help, especially those who are less fortunate and really have nothing. If God shows me a new avenue where I can do that, I'll do it."

The deal that led to Bentley's exit might make that impossible, however.

In his plea with the Alabama Attorney General's Office, Bentley agreed to "not seek or serve in any public office."

Does Bentley plan to ignore the terms of his plea agreement? Well, he is shameless enough to have traveled to D.C. with a cozy companion, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, with whom he has shared all kinds of intimacies -- involving her boobs, nether regions,and perhaps "other parts." From Jim Zeigler's Facebook post yesterday -- under the headline "Bentley takes Rebecca Mason to Washington as he lines up support for U.S. Senate run." (Zeigler, by the way, also is considered a possible U.S. Senate candidate in 2020.):

She was Gov. Robert Bentley's senior policy adviser and believed to be the 'acting governor' in decision making. Now, she is the manager of Dr. Bentley's dermatological clinic in Tuscaloosa.

But last weekend, Mrs. Rebecca Mason was the ex-governor's escort to Washington. As an ex-governor, Bentley was invited to a national governor's conference. And the two of them went.

Jim Zeigler
But is Mason also assisting Bentley as he gets ready to run for the U.S. Senate in 2020, seeking to be the Republican nominee against Democrat Sen. Doug Jones?
Many of the nation's governors were in Washington for the conference and breakfast with President Donald Trump. Bentley used the conference to go and line up national support for an expected run for the U.S. Senate next year.

The issue of Bentley's seedy behavior while serving as governor likely hits close to home for Zeigler, in part because he filed the initial ethics complaint that led to Bentley's exit.

Zeigler also provides a possible explanation for how Bentley might skate around the terms of his plea agreement:

Bentley resigned as governor in 2017 and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor violations. He signed a plea agreement that stated he would not run for pubic office again. In January Bentley obtained clearance from the prosecutor to run for a federal office even though his plea agreement stated he would not run for office. The U.S. Senate is a federal office.

State Auditor JIm Zeigler, who had filed the initial ethics complaint that led to Bentley's departure, said: "It is unbelievable that Bentley is doing this. Bentley was a problem for Alabama as governor, and he would be a continuing problem as U.S. Senator. While I do not believe Bentley can be elected, there are still some Alabama voters who think Bentley was a good governor that got a raw deal.. I was there, and neither of those things are true. He was not a good governor, and he got off easy."

Bentley served no jail time.

Zeigler has formed an exploratory committee eyeing his own possible run in 2020 for the seat now held by Democrat Sen. Doug Jones. The deadline to file candidacy is this November and the primary is March 3, 2020.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor from reading this.

Anonymous said...

Plea agreement? What plea agreement?

Anonymous said...

Dianne Bentley must have to keep a puke bucket nearby at all times. I feel for her.

Anonymous said...

Props to Jim Zeigler for speaking out on the Bentley circus.

Anonymous said...

I cannot stand to look at him. Please go home. We do not want you or your goomah.

Anonymous said...

The phrase in the plea agreement that Bentley would be required to "leave public life" is an ambiguity he will seek to exploit. Bentley and his attorneys will argue that by agreeing to "resign immediately" and step down as governor, he did "leave public life". Bentley's lawyers will then argue that if the plea agreement had actually contemplated Bentley never holding any public or elective office for the rest of his life, the plea agreement could have simply, and plainly, stated that one condition of the plea agreement was that Bentley "shall never hold any public or elective office for the remainder of his life." But that's not what the plea agreement states. Also, courts loathe interpreting contracts to restrict people from doing something (otherwise lawful) for the duration of their lives. Take for example business "covenants not to compete." Courts require that the conditions of a contract such as a covenant not to compete must be reasonable in terms of both geographical territory and duration of time. Courts generally will not enforce a covenant not to compete if it would prohibit a person from working for the rest of his or her life in a certain business field, profession, or industry. Bottom line - it's not difficult to see how Bentley and his bunch plan to argue that his plea agreement was not explicit enough to prohibit Bentley from ever holding elective or public office again for the rest of his life. Indeed, the plea agreement simply said he must "leave public life" -- which Bentley did when he agreed to step down from the governor's office. He did leave public life then (temporally), but he did not "leave public life forever" or "for the rest of his life." Also, courts will hold the prosecutors to the most narrow interpretation of the phrase "leave public life" if the prosecutors were the ones who drafted the Bentley plea agreement. A plea agreement, drafted by prosecutors, is like any other contract; so that plea agreement, including the phrase "leave public life," will be construed against the prosecutors, and in favor of Bentley. Finally, the term "leave public life" is so obviously ambiguous that it's a virtual certainty that prosecutors actually understood the ambiguity, knowing that they were giving Bentley some "wiggle room" -- if at some future time he might want to make another bid for elective office. Haven't we learned by now that all of our Alabama politicians and officials are slimy enough to slither around almost any obstacle? Sorry to write a comment that might help Bentley and his lawyers, but this legal issue is so easy to see; and so easy to predict how it will be resolved; that I simply could not pass up the opportunity to offer a view of what Bentley's lawyers are most likely going to argue if this issue ever ends up in court. One thing that's not ambiguous: Readers of the Legal Schnauzer think the world of our beloved Legal Schnauzer. BEST REGARDS TO MR. AND MRS. SCHNAUZER !

legalschnauzer said...

@12:51 --

Thanks for your insights. I wish I had a copy of the plea agreement; I don't recall seeing it published anywhere. Based on al.com's reporting, it says two different things: (1) That Bentley would "leave public life"; (2) Bentley would "not seek or serve in any public office."

Maybe it says both of those things, in different places. No. 2 is more specific and would seem to preclude a run for U.S. Senate.

Anonymous said...

Rebekah Mason is not only a slut, she's a shameless slut. I suspect that's the worst kind.

Anonymous said...

Zeigler's explanation for Bentley's end run around the plea agreement is unreal:


"He signed a plea agreement that stated he would not run for pubic office again. In January Bentley obtained clearance from the prosecutor to run for a federal office even though his plea agreement stated he would not run for office. The U.S. Senate is a federal office."


As the guy who filed the ethics complaint, Zeigler likely knows about this stuff.

Anonymous said...

A lot of Alabamians act outraged about Bentley, but if they really were concerned, they should have elected Walt Maddox as gov and Joseph Siegelman as AG. Ivey and Marshall have done little but allow the Bentley sleaze train to keep on choogling.

Anonymous said...

Bentley must have a ton of dirt on people to get away with this crap.

e.a.f. said...

perhaps his fellow adulterer, the adulterer in chief, will "pardon" him. Don't know if that works, but its the first thought which went through my mind.

Anonymous said...

@ 1:21 (Legal Schnauzer):

Obviously, the only way to clarify the issue of the plea agreement is to review a copy of it. The need to get a copy, and analyze the actual words used, is even more crucial now. This is because, if the actually language in the plea agreement plainly and clearly states that Bentley would "not seek or serve in any public office", or similar words, then it make absolutely no sense for the prosecutor's office to parse that language and decide the language quoted above applies only to seeking or serving in any future state office, but not seeking or serving in any future federal office. This is especially so, given that running for a seat in the U.S. Senate is still a matter of running for statewide election in Alabama, being elected by the same Alabama electorate, and serving in a state of Alabama U.S. Senate seat. So it's a distinction without much of a difference. Last problem: whatever the prosecutor's office decides will probably end the matter, because no ordinary citizen in Alabama (or elsewhere) would have "legal standing" to file a lawsuit seeking to enjoin Bentley from running for another office because of the plea agreement. In addition, if 'push came to shove' the prosecutor's office and Bentley could simply agree, among themselves, that the prior plea agreement and its language did not actually contemplate Bentley being forever barred from seeking and serving in a federal public office. And again, it's likely no ordinary citizen would have legal "standing" to challenge that agreed-upon-interpretation. Or, more creatively, the prosecutor's office and Bentley could formally reach a new agreement (thereby amending or replacing the prior plea agreement); their new agreement could acknowledge a mutual understanding by the parties that the prior plea agreement and prohibition only applied to Bentley seeking and serving again in a state office, but would not apply if he sought and served in a federal office. Lastly, as a purely political and practical matter, Bentley could probably "persuade" the prosecutor to reach a new agreement to that effect, if only Bentley allowed the prosecutor to eat a few of Home Wrecky Becky's nearly famous homemade buttermilk biscuits. Word is, they're divine. Especially if you put a strip of fried chicken between one of Becky's buttery biscuits. It would definitely lead the prosecutor to temptation -- that is, to Becky's buttery biscuits, of course.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this is the only horse Becky has to ride as far as being whatever sort of political whisperer she is?

pop quiz!

Which quotes were reported to be part of the Bentley controversy?

A) "When I stand behind you, and I put my arms around you, and I put my hands on your breasts, and I put my hands (unintelligible) and just pull you real close. I love that, too. "

B) "My milk shake brings all the boys to the yard,
And they're like,
Its better than yours,
Damn right its better than yours,
I can teach you,
But I have to charge
I know you want it,
The thing that makes me,
What the guys go crazy for.
They lose their minds,
The way I wind,
I think its time
La la-la la la,
Warm it up.
Lala-lalala,
The boys are waiting"


C) "Baby, let me know what I am going to do when I start locking the door. If we are going to do what we did the other day, we are going to have to start locking the door. "

D) "I grind so fine, oooh I grind so fine
Everybody's bound to love it because I grind so fine

When I get to grinding the woman all holler
Cause my grinding running just as [little] as a dollar
Because I grind so fine, ooh I grind so fine
Everybody's bound to love it because I grind so fine

Now all I want is strange women, won't try that with you
I don't want your grain to tear my grinder in two
Because I grind so fine, oh I grind so fine
Everybody's bound to love it because I grind so fine"


Submit your best guesses to LS at this blog right here!

BONUS!!!!!!


Who do you think was really behind ACE.gov?

Yall can save that ACE.gov answer until the old melon man actually files for his Senate race!

Anonymous said...

If Steve Marshall's AG Office is in charge of enforcing the plea agreement, I doubt Bentley's lawyers need to work all that hard at parsing the language. One of them probably went to the AG and said: "Hey, Stevo, LUV GUV wants to run for US Senate. He's counting on you not having any objections."

"No objection from me. None at all."

Anonymous said...

She sure does not love her children. All they have to do is Google her name and find out just what she is.

Anonymous said...

I saw that the Birmingham News reported on Bentley's trip but failed to mention that "she" accompanied him.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:08 --

Yes that was an interesting omission. Of course, they did their best to cover up the story for about seven months after I broke it in 2015.

Anonymous said...

Who really was behind ACE.gov?

Has this been answered?

legalschnauzer said...

@11:05 --

I don't think it has been fully answered, but it is a key part of the Spencer Collier lawsuit:


https://legalschnauzer.blogspot.com/2018/09/luv-guv-bentley-hides-donors-to-his.html

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if there are any people on the internet wondering if that lawsuit will turn up some fun sexy time home made videos starring ejected governor Bent and his squeeze?



legalschnauzer said...

@8:58 --

If there weren't, there certainly are now. Hah!