Bentley Investigation Ends Without New Charges

A grand jury Wednesday ended its investigation of disgraced former Gov. Robert Bentley without new indictments.   Bentley was accused of misusing state resources to pursue an extramarital affair with aide Rebekah Mason.   But special prosecutor Ellen Brooks says the investigation was hampered by loopholes in the law.  "There are frustrations that our laws did not allow us to go further on some matters."   The grand jury's report said the ethics law does not cover non-martial romantic relationships, like the one alleged to have existed between Bentley and Mason.    The law also allows governors to initiate, direct, and receive reports on criminal investigations for illegitimate political purposes, and allows people paid by private entities to do government work.    Mason was paid by Bentley's dark money group, the Alabama Council for Excellent Government, or ACEGov.   Bentley ordered, for political purposes, criminal investigations of a former aide to Bentley's then-wife Dianne,  and the state law enforcement secretary, an impeachment inquiry found.    The grand jury urged the Legislature to strengthen the law, by closing loopholes.   Former state Rep. Paul DeMarco (R-Homewood) said it's not a matter of if that will happen, but when.   "Do we wait until the next legislative session next year?   Or does the governor call a special session to address all the changes that need to be made?"

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