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Governor Bentley paid legal fees for Rebekah Mason with campaign contributions

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Governor Robert Bentley's attorney, Bill Athanas, confirms to WHNT News 19 that the governor's campaign paid nearly $9,000 for Rebekah Mason's legal fees.

Mason was Bentley's political advisor and the woman he admitted to having an "inappropriate relationship" with in March of 2016. But Bentley denied the relationship was physical.

The payment, which appears in this year's campaign finance report, dates the payment on January 3, 2016. That's more than two months before allegations surfaced that the pair were having an affair.

Bentley's campaign also paid the consulting company owned by Rebekah Mason more than $38,000 in the first four months of the year.

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Meanwhile, last week we told you Governor Robert Bentley had violated campaign finance law by waiting more than two months to disclose a $50,000 loan he made to his campaign in November.

Turns out, he had to make the loan, or his campaign fund would have been out of money.

Records show Bentley started the year with $346,000, but spent $382,000 in 2016. Most of that money -- more than $320,000 -- went to pay lawyers.

The loan helped cover a $50,000 payment he made to his new law firm.

Bentley also reimbursed the state $11,000 for using a state plane to travel to Las Vegas with Mason and other staffers for a governor's conference and Celine Dion concert.

The annual report filed Monday shows the current campaign fund balance is just under $26,000.

It`s not clear how Bentley will pay his future legal bills - the lawsuits, an ethics probe, the impeachment push and an AG`s investigation that hasn't gone away.

Bentley legally can't raise money to replenish the fund, since he`s no longer a candidate for governor.

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