The governor of the conservative southern US state of Alabama resigned Monday, shortly after lawmakers began impeachment proceedings linked to his affair with a senior aide that was made public in humiliating detail.
Robert Bentley, 74, pleaded guilty in an agreement with prosecutors on Monday to two misdemeanor campaign violations and is barred from seeking public office again.
“I have spent the last year in deep and earnest prayer over our state and our people. I pray every morning for wisdom and guidance and forgiveness for the sins I have committed,” the former dermatologist and church deacon told a news conference announcing his resignation, never directly acknowledging his romantic relationship with 45-year-old political adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason.
The relationship between Bentley and his married aide became a topic of speculation in 2015, when his wife of 50 years, Dianne, abruptly filed for divorce.
The scandal broke last spring when the state’s top police officer — fired by Bentley — provided the news organization AL.com with salacious details of the secret romance.
The media outlet reported on a 2014 phone conversation between Bentley and a woman he called Rebekah that was secretly captured by Dianne Bentley.
“When I stand behind you, and I put my arms around you, and I put my hands on your breasts, and I put my hands (unintelligible) and just pull you real close. I love that, too,” the governor is heard saying.
“Baby, let me know what I am going to do when I start locking the door,” he said during another part of the tape.