The Latest: Court rules Alabama impeachment can move forward

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Posted: Apr 08, 2017 3:25 PM
The Latest: Court rules Alabama impeachment can move forward

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

3:20 p.m.

The Alabama Supreme Court says impeachment hearings can proceed against Gov. Robert Bentley, who is fighting to stay in office amid fallout from an affair with a top aide.

The justices issued their ruling Saturday. A circuit judge had blocked the hearings, which are scheduled to begin Monday.

Jack Sharman, the special counsel in the impeachment probe, says the House Judiciary Committee is free to proceed with the hearings.

The governor's legal team went to court Friday to block the impeachment procedures as tensions escalated between the Republican governor and Republican-controlled Legislature.

The governor's lawyers argued the process was unfair to Bentley, while Sharman said impeachment proceedings were a legislative matter outside the court's jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court asked both sides to file briefs by Monday morning.

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2 a.m.

Even as Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's impeachment was put on hold, a legislative report was released saying he directed a state law enforcement officer to "advance his personal interests" to try to keep his romantic relationship with a staffer from becoming public.

Special Counsel Jack Sharman released the 131-page report Friday as Bentley's lawyers were in court to try to block its release.

The same day, Montgomery Circuit Judge Greg Griffin granted the governor's request for a temporary restraining order to stop impeachment proceedings.

Special Counsel Jack Sharman said lawmakers planned to appeal. He said it was unprecedented for the judicial branch to block a legislative proceeding.

The House Judiciary Committee was scheduled to begin impeachment hearings Monday. The governor asked for a 10-day delay while his attorneys argue the process is unfair.