Republican Gov. Robert Bentley of Alabama may soon face impeachment due to an audio recording that has fueled rumors he had an affair with his ex-senior political advisor, Rebekah Mason (video below).
Bentley and Mason have denied having an affair, but on March 23, AL.com released audio of Bentley in a sexually suggestive phone conversation with Mason in 2014.
The 73-year-old governor says to 44-year-old Mason on the phone call: "You know what? 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. Hey, I love that, too, putting my hands under you," notes AL.com.
In response to the audio tape, Bentley held a press conference on March 23 and apologized for his conversation with Mason, but said that his sins were only words and insisted they were not in a "sexual relationship."
Bentley told reporters that his comments on the phone call hurt his family, but his family members purportedly made the audio recording while he was chatting with Mason, who is married.
Mason resigned on March 30, but Bentley refused.
“I have no intentions of resigning,” Bentley stated March 30 during a press conference, reports The New York Times.
“My intentions are to try to make this state better," Bentley added. "My intentions are to try to work through all the difficulties that we’re going through.”
In an interview with the newspaper on the same day, Bentley said, “As far as my situation is concerned, it is really just a shock to people, and [...] I understand that.”
Bentley said there were “a lot of errors and misconceptions and opinions” on social media, and added, “I still feel that, in time, all of this will come out, and everything will be exposed.”
In regards to what has already been exposed, Bentley said that his behavior had not been “all that egregious.”
“All I can say is that I think I let people down, and that disturbs me more than anything else.”
Republican state Rep. Ed Henry of Alabama told WHNT News 19 on March 30 that he was planning to begin impeachment steps against Bentley based on “incompetence and moral turpitude” next week.
Henry said that Bentley can't fulfill his official duties because of the scandal involving Mason.