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Governor Bentley letter suggests closed door discussion, rather than sworn testimony, for impeachment investigation

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Governor Robert Bentley says he's willing to talk honestly with the committee investigating him for the possibility of impeachment, as long as it's not under oath, not recorded, and not open to the public.

Earlier this week, the Alabama House of Representatives committee investigating Bentley directed the governor to provide sworn testimony to them.

WHNT News 19 has now obtained a letter Governor Bentley sent to Representative Allen Farley with a counter offer.

It says in part, "I believe it is time for you to hear directly from me, and I am respectfully inviting you to a meeting in my office, pursuant to 36-25A-2(6)(b)(2), Code of Alabama, at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, November 10, 2016."

That code section allows the group to gather without it being classified as a meeting under Alabama law, which helps avoid public meeting laws.

That's the day after the committee originally gave for Bentley to provide sworn testimony.

The governor says he will meet with committee members, but he sets a number of ground rules. First, they need to meet privately, no lawyers. Second, no recording devices.

The letter from Bentley says, "It is my intention to have an open and frank discussion with you and your colleagues. I will open myself up to every thought or question you may have for me. I will, to the best of my ability, answer all the questions posed to me."

Representative Mike Ball (R-Madison), who is on the committee, says of Bentley's offer, "Things are very fluid. It is a good sign that he wants to do it, but there are legal questions about it. I very much engaged in finding the truth. It is very messy with all the lawyers.

"I am very hopeful that progress will be made over the next few weeks."