US: Alabama Governor Robert Bentley resigns over affair with top aide

Washington: A US governor has resigned after fighting for over a year against allegations that he used public resources to carry out and conceal an affair with his former top aide, the media reported.

Former Alabama Governor Robert Bentley. AP

Former Alabama Governor Robert Bentley. AP

Pressure built on Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to step down over the sex scandal as state lawmakers opened impeachment hearings against him this week and state Republican officials called for him to leave the governor's mansion, The Washington Post reported.

Bentley also pleaded guilty on Monday to two misdemeanour charges related to covering up the alleged affair — one for failing to file a major contribution report—the other for knowingly using campaign contributions for personal use, according to the state's attorney general office.

"I love the people of this state with all my heart," he told the media as he announced his resignation inside the Alabama State Capitol.

On his way to officially resign, Bentley showed up to the Montgomery County Jail and posed for a mug shot.

The events leading to the end of Bentley's career were spelt out in the 3,000 pages of a report released by the House Judiciary Committee attorney on 7 April. It detailed various indiscretions the governor allegedly tried to keep secret as he carried out an affair with his married aide, Rebekah Caldwell Mason.

The report said Bentley texted heart-eyed emojis to Mason — texts that were linked up to his now former wife's iPad — and made threats to the first lady's staff to keep the affair secret.

The report also detailed what allegedly went on behind closed doors when Mason, according to the report, left the office "with her hair tousled and her clothing in disarray", reports The Washington Post.

Under the plea deal, Bentley will face up to a year of probation and 100 hours of community service, which he is expected to perform in his capacity as a licensed dermatologist.

He must turn over some $37,000 in campaign funds to the state.

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Updated Date: Apr 11, 2017 13:15:35 IST

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