Former security chief drops lawsuit that helped push Gov. Bentley from office

Gov. Robert Bentley resigns from office April 10, 2017.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The one-time head of former Gov. Robert Bentley’s security detail, Ray Lewis, has dropped his defamation lawsuit against Bentley, Bentley’s alleged mistress Rebekah Mason and others, just a few weeks before the case was set to go trial.

Allegations contained in the lawsuit about Bentley and Mason’s relationship – and what the then-governor asked Lewis to do to further that relationship – were cited extensively in the special counsel’s impeachment report that led to Bentley’s resignation in April.

The lawsuit alleged that Lewis advised Bentley that his relationship with Rebekah Mason was wrong, that the governor could face problems if he used state resources to further the affair, that Bentley asked Lewis to break off the relationship with Mason for him — which Lewis said he tried to do — and that he sent Lewis to try and retrieve an audio tape of a racy conversation between Bentley and Mason from Bentley’s son.

The lawsuit alleged that Lewis’ reputation was damaged by Bentley, who told AL.com that he wasn’t aware of why Lewis had received substantial overtime payments. The lawsuit said the overtime was due to work Lewis was doing for Bentley. The lawsuit asked for an apology from Bentley.

Lewis also claimed Bentley and others blocked him getting senior security jobs at Alabama Power and the University of Alabama.

The lawsuit was filed last November and Bentley issued a defiant response at the time: “Ray Lewis has presented a baseless, malicious, slanderous, salacious and poorly constructed civil complaint against myself and others in a thinly veiled attempt to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars from State of Alabama taxpayers, myself and my family.”

A judge had dismissed many of Lewis’ claims against Bentley in April, saying Bentley had been acting in his official capacity and was protected from the lawsuit by state immunity provisions.

The case came to an end after Lewis’s attorneys asked a Montgomery judge on Tuesday to dismiss all claims. Montgomery County Circuit Judge Truman Hobbs granted the dismissal Wednesday.