Bentley Resigns

Gov. Robert Bentley resigned Monday, ending an impeachment effort that stemmed from allegations he misused state resources while pursuing an extramarital affair.   Despite a series of denials that he had broken any laws, Bentley pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges: failing to file a major contribution report and knowingly converting campaign contributions to personal use.  The plea agreement was reached with the state attorney general's office, under special prosecutor Ellen Brooks.   Under the deal, Bentley avoids prison time.   He was fined $7,000, placed on probation, and ordered to complete community service.   The resignation caps a stunning fall from grace for Bentley, first elected in 2010, and reelected in a landslide four years later.    Bentley's problems began last year, after he fired state law enforcement secretary Spencer Collier.   The next day, Collier held an extraordinary press conference, in which he accused Bentley of having an affair with a senior political adviser, Rebekah Mason.   The effort to impeach Bentley gained significant momentum following the release of an impeachment report outlining allegations that Bentley used law enforcement officers to conceal the alleged affair, while fostering an atmosphere of fear and intimidation among staff members.   "I have decided it is time for me to step down as Alabama‚Äôs governor,"  Bentley said during a resignation speech.    He did not mention the plea deal.   Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey took the oath of office, succeeding Bentley.   "The Ivey administration will be open, it will be transparent and it will be honest," Ivey said, as supporters cheered.

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