Alabama Gov. Bentley resigns, pleads guilty - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Alabama Gov. Bentley resigns, pleads guilty

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley. (Source: Alabama Governor's Office) Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley. (Source: Alabama Governor's Office)
Kay Ivey is Alabama's second female governor. (Source: alabama.gov) Kay Ivey is Alabama's second female governor. (Source: alabama.gov)
Robert Bentley's resignation letter as governor of Alabama (Source: State of Alabama) Robert Bentley's resignation letter as governor of Alabama (Source: State of Alabama)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WAFF) -

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley formally resigned from office amid impeachment hearings Monday afternoon.

Alabama Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey was sworn in as the 54th governor at 6 p.m.

Shortly before resigning, Bentley pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of failure to file a major contribution report in relation to illegally using state resources to cover up his alleged affair with former top staffer Rebekah Mason. Bentley was fingerprinted and booked at the Montgomery County Jail shortly before his resignation announcement.

When the judge asked if he was guilty, Bentley replied, "Yes, sir."

[SLIDESHOW: Disgraced American governors

Bentley received a suspended sentence of 30 days in jail for each charge. They would have run concurrently. He will serve 12 months of unsupervised probation.

The judge ordered Bentley to pay paying $100 to the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission and reimburse almost $9,000 to the campaign fund. He will also have to pay $7,000 in fines and surrender almost $37,000 in campaign funds.

He was also ordered to 100 hours of volunteer services as a physician.

He agreed not to run for office again.

Bentley's resignation will avoid the decision from the day's impeachment hearings.After months of a political and sexual scandal, the embattled governor buckled when impeachment proceedings began on Monday morning.

Bentley's administration began to crumble when news broke that he was having a sexually tinged relationship with one of his top advisers, a married mother of three 30 years his junior. There had been rumblings of the affair since the governor's inauguration after re-election in 2014, but the story did not start to explode until months later.

The governor and Rebekah Caldwell Mason both denied they had a sexual relationship, though recordings of phone conversations released to the media indicated otherwise. Mason, who at first insisted she was the victim of gender bias, nevertheless resigned her position as senior political adviser as the scandal intensified.


[SLIDESHOW: EMAILS, TEXTS FROM GOV. BENTLEY INVESTIGATION]

Damning evidence surfaced in the past few days when multiple texts between the governor and his surfaced as the investigation picked up steam. The pressure on Bentley began mounting after the governor appointed state attorney general Luther Strange to the U.S. Senate seat vacated when Jeff Sessions stepped away in February to become attorney general for President Donald Trump's administration.

Steve Marshall, who replaced Strange, confirmed that an investigation was underway when he recused himself from an investigation into Bentley's actions last February.

Kay Ivey

Ivey is the second female governor in the state's history and the first for GOP.  The Auburn graduate is the second female governor in the state’s history, and the first for the GOP. Lurleen Wallace, the wife of former Gov. George C. Wallace, was elected  governor in 1966 when her husband could not run for a second term. 

The Camden, Alabama native graduated from Auburn University in 1967.

She was elected lieutenant governor in 2010 and is the second woman in Alabama history to hold the post.

In 2002, Ivey became the first Republican elected state treasurer since the Reconstruction. She was re-elected in 2006.

She has served as chairman of the Job Creation and Military Stability Commission, vice chairman of the Aerospace States Association and acted as an advocate for the Real World Design Challenge.

She served also as Alabama Forestry Associations Black Belt Initiative spokeswoman and participated with Auburn University’s campaign to end child hunger.

Before her career in politics, she worked as a banker, assistant hospital administrator, high school teacher, and served  as a Alabama House of Representatives reading clerk and assistant director of the Department of Commerce.

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