The Latest: Governor's lawyers say impeachment not merited

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Posted: Apr 06, 2017 7:11 PM
The Latest: Governor's lawyers say impeachment not merited

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on planned impeachment hearings against Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (all times local):

4:55 p.m.

Lawyers for Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley say he did nothing wrong and argued the unproven ethics accusations against him do not merit impeachment.

Bentley Legal Adviser David Byrne argued Thursday there was important context and explanations for the findings of the Alabama Ethics Commission.

For example, Byrne said Bentley loaned money to his campaign so he could pay legal bills. Bentley is accused of improperly accepting a loan when he was not a candidate.

The legal team for the embattled Republican held a press conference Thursday, a day after the Alabama Ethics Commission found probable cause that he broke state ethics and campaign finance law.

Bentley lawyer Ross Garber said the accusations "are not the kinds of things that result in impeachment of a governor."

The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled hearings next week on impeachment articles filed against Bentley.

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4:10 p.m.

Alabama lawmakers have announced a schedule for impeachment hearings against Gov. Robert Bentley.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Mike Jones told lawmakers that it was "time to put this in front of us."

The committee, after hearing arguments and testimony, will make a recommendation to the full House of Representatives over whether Bentley committed any impeachable offenses.

The hearings will begin Monday and last through the week. Under the announced schedule, the committee would vote on April 14.

The announcement came a day after the Alabama Ethics Commission found probable cause that Bentley violated state ethics and campaign finance law.

Bentley has maintained he has done nothing illegal or to merit his removal from office.

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3:15 p.m.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says he has no intentions to resign his office.

Bentley made the statement Thursday after the Republican leader of the Alabama Senate said he should consider stepping down.

The governor says he is "looking forward to continuing to work on important issues facing the state."

The state Ethics Commission on Wednesday found probable cause that Bentley broke state ethics and campaign finance laws. The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin impeachment hearings next week. The committee will eventually recommend on whether Bentley should be impeached.

The 74-year-old Republican governor has struggled to shake off a scandal after recordings surfaced last year of him making suggestive remarks to a female aide before his divorce.

Bentley has admitted making personal mistakes but denied doing anything illegal or that would merit his removal from office.

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1:30 p.m.

The Republican leader of the Alabama Senate says Gov. Robert Bentley should consider resigning, saying he is putting the state "under a cloud."

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh made the blunt comments Thursday, a day after the state Ethics Commission found probable cause that Bentley broke state ethics and campaign finance laws.

Marsh says the governor is unable to lead on important issues in the state such as education and prison legislation. Marsh says he hopes the governor "will do what is right."

The 74-year-old Republican governor has struggled to shake off a scandal after recordings surfaced last year of him making suggestive remarks to a female aide before his divorce.

Bentley has admitted making personal mistakes but denied doing anything illegal or that would merit his removal from office.

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin impeachment hearings next week. The committee will eventually recommend on whether Bentley should be impeached.

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3:20 a.m.

A state ethics panel has ruled that there is probable cause Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley violated state ethics and campaign finance law in a sex-tinged scandal that has engulfed him for more than a year.

The Alabama Ethics Commission voted Wednesday to refer the matter to the district attorney's office for possible prosecution.

The 74-year-old governor has struggled to shake off a scandal after recordings surfaced last year of him making suggestive remarks to a female aide before his divorce.

Bentley has admitted making personal mistakes but denied doing anything illegal or that would merit his removal from office.

The commission found probable cause that Bentley misused state resources and improperly accepting a campaign contribution and loan outside allowed fundraising windows.