48 hours after being appointed to Attorney General by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to replace Luther Strange after his appointment to replace Jeff Sessions in the U.S. Senate, Steve Marshall has appointed a special prosecutor to launch an investigation into Governor Bentley on corruption and ethics charges.
Read that again.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate Governor Bentley a mere 48 hours after being appointed… by Governor Bentley.
Yeah, that’s right. Let’s recap the sequence of events so far:
- Governor Bentley’s wife of 50 years suddenly divorces him.
- Recordings of a sexual phone call between Governor Bentley and his senior advisor Rebekah Mason surface.
- Governor Bentley fires Spencer Collier, the head of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and top law enforcement officer in the state.
- Spencer Collier files a wrongful termination lawsuit against Governor Bentley and Rebekah Mason, outlining a variety of corruption allegations involving the covering up of the affair.
- The Alabama House of Representatives Judiciary Committee begins impeachment proceedings.
- Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange asks the Judiciary Committee to halt their impeachment proceedings due to unspecified “related work” his office is doing. Won’t confirm an investigation, and doesn’t recuse himself.
- Donald Trump wins the Presidential race, and appoints U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions to be his Attorney General.
- Attorney General Luther Strange, while still halting the impeachment proceedings against Governor Bentley, applies to be appointed by Governor Bentley to replace Jeff Sessions until the special election in 2018. Many other qualified candidates apply as well.
- Jeff Sessions is confirmed.
- Robert Bentley immediately appoints Luther Strange to the U.S. Senate. He then begins the appointment process to replace Strange. Strange is quoted as saying:
“I want to make this clear because I think there have been some misconceptions,” Strange said. “We have never said in our office that we are investigating the governor. I think it’s actually somewhat unfair to him and unfair to the process.”
- Accusations fly that Strange’s appointment was payment for the suspension of the impeachment proceedings.
- Bentley appoints little-known Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshall (not a typo) to be the new Alabama Attorney General.
- Steve Marshall is sworn in, and meets with the special prosecutions division of the Attorney General’s office to confidentially review the results of the investigation so far.
- TODAY: Despite Luther Strange’s insistence for months on not recusing himself or even admitting the existence of an investigation, Marshall has just moments ago put out a press release announcing that he is recusing himself from the ongoing investigation into Governor Bentley and hiring former Montgomery County District Attorney Ellen Brooks to take over in order to avoid any potential conflict due to his own recent appointment. This is a clear implication of impropriety on Luther Strange’s part by Marshall.
- Icing on the cake: the lead investigator in the case is confirmed to be the legendary white-collar prosecutor Matt Hart. Hart has a number of extremely high-profile convictions under his belt. Just last year, he got Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard convicted on 12 felony ethics charges. If he puts Bentley away, he will have taken out the heads of both the Legislative and the Executive Branches of the Alabama State government in less than four years.