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Gov. Bentley's impeachment hearings suspended at request of attorney general

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Attorney General Luther Strange sent this letter to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. (Source: Attorney General's Office) Attorney General Luther Strange sent this letter to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. (Source: Attorney General's Office)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

The House Judiciary Committee is suspending its hearings into the Articles of Impeachment against Gov. Robert Bentley, according to Rep. Mike Jones, the chairman of the committee.

The committee made the decision at the request of Attorney General Luther Strange.

"As I said at the first meeting on the Articles of Impeachment, this committee would work cooperatively with other investigating agencies and today's action testifies to that," said Jones, R-Andalusia.  "We are temporarily suspending activity at the attorney general’s request but we are not abdicating our responsibility.  Everything the committee has done remains in effect.”

In a letter to Jones Thursday, Strange said it would be "prudent and beneficial" to delay the work of the committee.

The House Judiciary Committee stated in its news release that the Attorney General's Office is specifically investigating the governor, but Strange's letter just states that his office has work that's related to the committee's investigation. 

"I respectfully request that the Committee cease active interviews and investigation until I am able to report to you that the necessary related work of my office has been completed," the letter from Strange stated.

According to the news release, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon says he supports the decision to suspend the committee hearings.

"While I have complete confidence in the Judiciary Committee and its special counsel, I believe that moving forward with the impeachment hearings while there is an active criminal investigation would put a number of parties in a difficult position," McCutcheon said. "I support pausing the committee investigation and allowing the criminal proceedings to run their course."

Bentley and his attorney released the following statements:

Bentley:

“I respect the position of the Attorney General and the leadership of the House of Representatives. My focus will continue to be on doing the work of the people of Alabama.”

Ross Garber (Attorney for the Office of the Governor):

“It is appropriate that the Committee’s investigation has been suspended. While the Attorney General has indicated that he is conducting “related work,” I am aware of no investigation by the Attorney General into the Governor or any personnel in the Office of the Governor.”

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