MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Now-ex Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors related to use of campaign funds and received a suspended 30-day sentence from a Montgomery Circuit Court Monday, court records show.
The charges were brought by Supernumerary District Attorney Ellen Brooks, who was asked to take over the Bentley investigation by the Alabama Attorney General’s Office in February.
The governor pleaded guilty to failing to report a major contribution to his campaign, $50,000, in a timely fashion. The money was deposited by Bentley in November 2016 , but he didn't report it until January 2017. Under Alabama law, major contributions are supposed to be filed within two days. The governor's lawyers had argued it was a loan -- apparently to pay legal bills -- and they didn't realize it had to be reported as a major contribution.
The other charge stems using campaign funds, $8,912, to a law firm on behalf of Rebekah Mason, his alleged mistress and former top political advisor.
The plea agreement with the governor includes a number of provisions:
- $100 to the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission;
- $7,000 in fine related to the campaign finance law violations;
- Repay $8,912 to the Bentley for Governor campaign fund;
- Surrender $36,912 in his campaign account to the State of Alabama within a week of sentencing;
- Perform at least 100 hours of community service as a physician to the people of Alabama;
- Resign as governor;
- Not seek public office;
- Waive any retirement benefits he would otherwise be entitled to;
- Waive his right to appeal
The plea agreement also resolves any potential state charges against Bentley, including matters raised during the impeachment proceedings in the Alabama House and the four possible ethics and campaign felonies identified by the Alabama Ethics Commission.