After months of questions about the actual status of a “potential” investigation into Robert Bentley, Alabama’s new attorney general has confirmed that the governor is facing a state-led probe.
After being sworn in on Monday, A.G. Steve Marshall told Alabamians that he would step back from a case involving the governor if he confirmed that an investigation was happening. On Wednesday, he fulfilled his commitment by announcing that he would do just that.
“After I took the oath of office, I pledged to the people of Alabama that my first priority as Attorney General would be to determine if my recusal from a possible investigation was necessary,” Marshall said in a statement. “I believe this course of action fulfills my commitment to the people that this matter be handled thoroughly and fairly.”
Marshall has now handed the investigation to former Montgomery County District Attorney Ellen Brooks to lead the investigation.
The news has already impacted business at the Capitol. House Representative Mike Jones, who has led an effort to impeach Bentley, now says that he will work with Brooks to move the process forward.
The proceedings had been placed on hold after former Attorney General Luther Strange had asked the House Committee to pause their investigation so his office could effectively conduct “similar work.”
Speaker Mac McCutcheon released a statement that seemed to support the long-term goal of the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation of Bentley, though he indicated the House would remain respectful of state law enforcement.
“Because an impeachment resolution has been filed, the House has a constitutional duty to gather needed information, examine the facts, and take a public vote on whether to forward articles of impeachment to the Senate,” Speaker McCutcheon said.
“As a retired law enforcement officer, I am hesitant to take any immediate action that would impede, hamper, or compromise an on-going investigation being led by the Attorney General’s Office. But, as Speaker of the House, I am determined that we will fulfill our constitutional obligation.”