In a press conference described as “awkward” and “shaky,” Alabama Governor Robert Bentley denied having a physical or sexual relationship with his adviser Rebekah Mason.
Bentley held the press conference alongside recently-appointed ALEA Chief Stan Stabler just hours after Stabler’s predecessor, Spencer Collier, accused Bentley of going to extreme lengths to hide his affair with Mason.
“Today is a difficult day for me. Today I want to apologize to the people of the state of Alabama,” said Bentley “I am sorry and accept full responsibility.”
“I have never done anything illegal.”
Spencer Collier, who was fired Tuesday by Bentley, detailed the scandalous relationship between Bentley and Mason, which has been rumored for years. Collier, speaking at a press conference Wednesday afternoon, said he has seen text messages and heard audio recordings “of a sexual nature” between the two.
Bentley said he’s heard of these audio messages for years, but never has heard them.
Hours later the audio recording of the conversation became public. It was first posted on Al.com.
The conversation was reportedly recorded by the Governor’s former wife, Dianne Bentley, at the couples’ beach home.
In the recording, Bentley can be heard making sexually explicit remarks to a person believed to be Mason.
“You know what. When I stand behind you and I put my arms around you and I put my hands on your breasts,” said Bentley in the recording. “. If we’re going to do what we did the other day we are going to have to start locking the door.”
Bentley addressed the allegations Wednesday and said he and Mason never had an affair.
“I have stated emphatically today that I have not had a physical relationship with Mrs. Mason, and at times in the past have I said things that I shouldn’t have said absolutely and that is what I am saying today,” said Governor Bentley.
Diane Bentley is said to have gone for a walk on the beach and left her cell phone behind to record the conversation Bentley would presumably have with Mason.
“I haven’t heard the tape,” Bentley said at his press conference. “I said some inappropriate things, and I know I did that, and I apologize.”
At the press conference on Wednesday, Collier admitted his love and admiration for Bentley, whom he had viewed as “a father figure.” However after Bentley fired a group of ALEA’s top officials allegedly due to the scandal becoming uncovered, Collier said he felt obligated to come forward and confirm the affair so many in Montgomery have wondered about for years.
Diane Bentley filed for divorce in August 2015. Court documents showed their marriage “has suffered an irretrievable breakdown.”