Alabama Governor Resigns and Pleads Guilty Amid a Sex Scandal

In Judiciary and Courts, States On

Mr. Bentley, 74, repeatedly denied having a physical relationship with Ms. Mason and long insisted that he had not broken any laws, but he was a subject of multiple investigations, including reviews by the F.B.I. and the Alabama attorney general’s office.

On Wednesday, the Alabama Ethics Commission said it had probable cause to find that Mr. Bentley had committed felonies, and it asked a district attorney to consider prosecuting him. Two days later, a lawyer hired by the Alabama House of Representatives released a report portraying Mr. Bentley as deceitful and desperate before his relationship with Ms. Mason made him a punch line.

The 131-page report said Mr. Bentley had offered little cooperation to legislative investigators, and it alleged that the governor’s critics had been subjected to coercion, including harassing messages and the threat of prosecution. The report described how Mr. Bentley tried to use a member of his security detail to break up with Ms. Mason on his behalf and how he demanded that Ms. Mason be allowed to travel in official vehicles after she left the state’s payroll.

It also explored Mr. Bentley’s efforts to keep audio recordings of suggestive conversations with Ms. Mason from the public. In one such conversation, which rippled across the internet last year, the governor described embracing Ms. Mason and placing his hands on her breasts.

By the weekend, legislative leaders had demanded that the governor quit, echoing a faction of rank-and-file members in his own party who spent months vocally opposing him. On Sunday night, the steering committee of the Alabama Republican Party made a similar call. And by sunset Monday, Mr. Bentley was out of power.

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