Ex-Gov. Robert Bentley investigation concluded without further charges
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Supernumerary District Attorney Ellen Brooks called a news conference for Wednesday afternoon in regards to the investigation of former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley "and others".
Brooks released the final report of a special grand jury that determined no other charges against Bentley or anyone else were warranted. Montgomery County Circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick has accepted the report and has dissolved the grand jury.
"Many of the allegations we investigated were not supported by the facts," the report states. "With respect to the other allegations, the facts did not constitute a crime."
The report does cite "serious concerns" about Alabama's ethics laws, however.
The Alabama Attorney General's Office Special Prosecutions Division opened its probe after getting complaints in spring 2016. It reviewed more than 100,000 documents, more than 100 witness statements, and files from other investigative agencies and legislative committees.
The investigation included a financial analysis of 35 different sets of financial records, as well as a comparative analysis and review by other state and federal agencies.
The Special Prosecutions Division heard from 53 witnesses and obtained dozens of exhibits during the last two-years.
Bentley's sentence included 30 days in jail, which the judge suspended, 12 months unsupervised probation, paying $100 to the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission and reimbursing the campaign fund almost $9,000.
According to the plea agreement, Bentley agreed not to seek or serve in any public office, waive any retirement benefits, pay $7,000 in fines, surrender almost $37,000 in campaign funds and do at least 100 hours of community service as a physician.
Bentley found himself engulfed in scandal since the state's former top cop, Spencer Collier, publicly accused him of having an affair with an adviser in 2016. Bentley admitted to making inappropriate comments to Rebekah Mason but repeatedly denied the two had a physical affair.
State Auditor Jim Zeigler filed an ethics complaint against Bentley on March 25, 2016. Just over a year after the complaint was filed, the Alabama Ethics Commission found probable cause Bentley violated ethics laws and campaign finance laws.
The ethics commission voted to refer his case to the Montgomery County District Attorney's office for possible prosecution. That's when Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey sent a letter to acting Attorney General Ellen Brooks referring Bentley's case to her office.