Alabama Governor Robert Bentley Quits Over Sex Scandal, Kay Ivey Replaces Him

Hubbard was convicted of felony ethics violations last June and is free on bond while appealing.

"I ask for your help and patience as together we steady the ship of state and improve Alabama's image", she said after being sworn in Monday afternoon.

"The Ivey administration will be open, it will be transparent, and it will be honest", Ivey said during a short speech after her swearing in by the minister at her Montgomery Baptist church.

But sensing an opening in a deeply conservative state where Christian values play well at election time, state Democrats pounced.

Republican State Representative Ed Henry had filed those articles of impeachment about a year ago. But new Gov. Kay Ivey is promising honesty in office.

They also tried (and failed) to stop impeachment hearings convened by Alabama's legislative branch - whose leaders were united in calling on Bentley to resign.

Ivey's predecessor has been accused of coercing state employees into helping cover up an affair with his senior political advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason.

State lawmakers were in the middle of deciding whether to impeach him when Bentley agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanors, repay the misused funds, and never hold public office again. The move drew questions since unusual had requested that the House Judiciary Committee permit him to lead the investigation into Bentley.

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"Governor Bentley directed law enforcement to advance his personal interests and, in a process characterized by increasing obsession and paranoia, subjected career law enforcement officers to tasks meant to protect his reputation", the report reads.

Marshall was appointed attorney general by Bentley just a few weeks before he resigned. He invoked his Christian faith during a farewell address in the Capitol.

Bentley was frequently photographed at a variety of economic development announcements both before and after the scandal that ended his leadership Monday.

According to the investigative report, Dianne Bentley secretly recorded her husband by leaving her phone on while she went for a walk. He said as recently as the weekend, I believe, he was going to fight and then suddenly had to go. Collier's allegations were all but proved when a 2014 recording of Bentley making sexually-charged comments to Mason was released the very next day.

The governor then picked Steve Marshall to fill Strange's seat, and Marshall earlier this year recused himself from the Bentley investigation and named retired Montgomery County District Attorney Ellen Brooks as acting attorney general in the Bentley investigation. Furthermore he was sentenced to a year's probation, 100 hours of community service and required to return almost $40,000 from a campaign account to the Alabama state treasury. He also can not seek public office again.

Ivey is the second woman to serve as Alabama's governor. Those are my first priorities as your 54th Governor. She ran as a surrogate for her husband in 1966 when he couldn't seek re-election because of term limits. Although her former position carried respect, it wielded little constitutional power besides being next in line to the executive office.

Reeves reported from Birmingham, Alabama.

  • Michelle Webb