Governor doubts WAFF will be allowed divorce court records

Governor doubts WAFF will be allowed divorce court records

(WAFF) - Governor Robert Bentley doubts Alabama media outlets - including WAFF 48 News - will be successful in opening up court records in his divorce proceedings.

Monday, WAFF and several other media organizations filed a motion with a Tuscaloosa Court seeking to open the seal records the Bentley's divorce. The motion states Gov. Bentley is a public figure and divorce proceedings are not exempt.

The media outlets involved in the motion are requesting the documents be unsealed to see if there is any information of interest to the public. Specifically, whether there are any allegations of infidelity while the governor was on state business, whether there was any misuse of state funds or whether there was a misuse of Bentley's position as governor.

There are allegations that Gov. Bentley misused state property. Rep. Allen Farley has asked that Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange begin an investigation into Bentley's use of state property, primarily state aircraft.

The outlets filing the motion feel that the mere desire of the Bentleys to hold a private divorce proceeding is not sufficient reason to close the records to the public of the press. Because of their public status and the allegations made by Dianne Bentley, the divorce is not a "wholly private" case because it involves actions made by Dianne Bentley against her husband while both were in public office.

Bentley refused to comment again on what he says is a private matter.  He said he doubts the media will have standing in the case.

The same motion refers to allegations of possible abuse of taxpayer resources as another reason to open the the court records. Bentley again denied any wrongdoing to allegations.

"I've heard nothing. There is no misuse of state funds. Absolutely none. That is totally false. All of that has been explained." Bentley said.

Bentley did confirm to sister station WBRC that Montgomery attorney Joe Espy, a noted criminal defense attorney, is working with him on several issues. Espy also represents dog track owner Milton McGregor and is a trustee of the University of Alabama System.

Copyright 2015 WAFF. All rights reserved. WBRC contributed to this report.