Gov. Robert Bentley ordered Alabama’s former top cop to “be prepared to arrest” people with copies of a sexually-charged recording, according to an impeachment report released Friday examining the governor’s affair with top adviser Rebekah Mason.
The governor specifically ordered now-fired Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Spencer Collier to be prepared to arrest Heather Hannah, who was a staffer for former First Lady Diane Bentley, according to the report.
In perhaps the most dramatic passages in that report, investigators recount the governor’s growing paranoia and his confrontations with his wife’s former staffer.
In one confrontation, Bentley pointed his finger in Hannah’s face and threatened, “You will never work in the State of Alabama again if you tell anyone about this (the affair),” according to the report.
The report says Hannah first grew suspicious in October 2013 of the relationship between the governor and Mason. Hannah helped Dianne Bentley record the now infamous call, in which the governor describes how he likes touching Mason’s breasts.
“In the fall of 2014, Governor Bentley undertook significant efforts to locate the tapes, with state law enforcement resources as his primary tool,” the report states. “The best evidence of these efforts is the way such resources were brought to bear on two individual members of his staff: Heather Hannah and Linda Adams.”
Hannah testified she was threatened by Bentley during two separate confrontations at the Governor’s Mansion — once in the kitchen and another time in the parking lot.
Bentley pointed his finger in Hannah’s face during what the report calls “The Kitchen Confrontation.” Hannah testified she was not “intimidated” by this encounter, but believed that was the governor’s intent, the report says.
“She described his demeanor as angry and that he was speaking to her in a loud tone of voice,” according to the report.
During their second encounter — “The Parking Lot Confrontation”–the governor told Hannah to “watch herself,” that she “did not know what she was getting into,” the report says.
Bentley also told Hannah that because he was governor that “people bow to his throne,” the report says.
A portion of the report specifically is devoted to incidents involving Hannah, including “unexplained vandalism” of her home and vehicle that were reported shortly after she testified to the Alabama Ethics Commission about the Bentley-Mason affair in June 2016.
This photo, which appears to show “BITCH DIE” written on Hannah’s car, was included in a report released Friday, related to the impeachment hearings for Gov. Robert Bentley
Photos, which are included in the report, show someone scribbled “BITCH DIE” and “You will f*****g die” on windows of her vehicle. Hannah found the vandalism when she was watering plants outside her new home in Birmingham around June 6, 2016. She heard what sounded like bushes rustling and walked to the front of her house, where she noticed the “scribbles” on her driver side window and windshield.
Hannah recently had moved to the house and her address hadn’t officially been changed, to her knowledge, according to the report. However, she had sent a text message to friends with “pretty strong connections to the capital,” to update her address.
The second incident of vandalism at Hannah’s home happened June 15, 2016, when a rock was thrown through her kitchen window. Hannah was preparing for bed around midnight and heard the sound of breaking glass just after she turned off her kitchen light and headed toward the back of the house. When she returned to the kitchen, she found a rock lying on the floor and noticed a broken panel in the window.
“Hannah testified during her deposition by special counsel that she believed both incidents were related to her testimony before the Alabama Ethics Commission,” the report states.
The report was compiled by Jack Sharman, attorney for the House committee investigating Bentley’s actions before possible impeachment hearings.
Subsequent sections of the impeachment report detail efforts by Bentley to find the tapes of his conversation with Mason and to pressure law enforcement to threaten Hannah with arrest if she doesn’t cooperate.
The reports says that in August 2014 Bentley told Collier that he suspected Hannah had been responsible for making the recordings. “He ordered Collier to find out whether there were criminal statutes that applied to Hannah’s suspected activity. He told Collier to be prepared to arrest Hannah if the tapes were released publicly.”
“Collier said that he told Governor Bentley to leave Heather Hannah alone,” according to the report.
The report also states that Bentley and Collier discussed Hannah with Special Agent Scott Lee, who testified he was uncomfortable with what he was asked.
“Lee told Governor Bentley that possession of materials illegally obtained was a misdemeanor,” the report says. “Lee’s intent in the meeting, he says, was to communicate to Governor Bentley that Lee would not alter the investigation, once begun, if Lee determined that members of Governor Bentley’s family had committed crimes.”
That ended Lee’s involvement.
“After Lee told Bentley and Collier that he would insist on seeing any investigation through to its conclusions, he was not asked to proceed with the investigation,” the report shows.