HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Two months before his resignation, former Governor Robert Bentley appointed then-Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange to the U.S. Senate.
This decision has kept people talking ever since. Was the A.G.'s office investigating Bentley at the time of the appointment? What about a letter Strange sent to the judiciary committee before the presidential election?
"Everything I did was working with and on the advice of the best public corruption team in the United States in America," Luther Strange said at an event at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center on Thursday.
Questions surrounded the position change for Luther Strange. Did an appointment to the Senate hamper an investigation into Bentley?
"We were investigating things surrounding the governor, mainly focused on Spencer Collier and we sent out a letter to that effect."
In November, Strange sent the House Judiciary Committee a letter, asking the panel to suspend the impeachment investigation while Strange's office handled 'related work.'
"As you recall, Spencer Collier made allegations about the governor," Strange said. "The governor made allegations about Spencer Collier, that's public record, other than that, we really didn't have any comment about the whole process."
The committee's investigation remained on hold until Bentley appointed Strange to the Senate. Strange said there was no connection.
"I already had announced I was a candidate for the United States Senate well before there was ever any appointment," Strange said. "So, I was already running, had already raised a significant amount of money, had support all across the state and my position publicly was, 'I don't care what the governor does, I'm running for the United States Senate and ultimately the people of the state will decide who their senator's gonna be. That's been my position from day one."
But Strange called people questioning his actions, "disgruntled."
"We took on the tough challenges in Montgomery, we took on a sitting Speaker of the House," Strange said. "The people that I've heard mention anything are people that stood at pep rallies with him, who have been saying things about our teams for years."
Ultimately, the governor's plea agreement with the state was with the Attorney General's office. Bentley pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges. Bentley appointed Steve Marshall to succeed Strange as Attorney General and Marshall recused himself from the Bentley investigation. Marshall selected Ellen Brooks to handle the investigation. Brooks announced the criminal charges after the governor pleaded guilty this week.