Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley resigned Monday rather than face impeachment and pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor campaign violations that arose during the investigation of alleged affair with a top aide.
The mild-mannered 74-year-old Republican and one-time Baptist deacon was at peace with the decision to step down, according to a former administration member who was not authorized to release the information and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
The sex-tinged scandal gathered force over the past few days and turned up on the pressure by opening impeachment hearings Monday. Last week, the Alabama Ethics Commission cited evidence that Bentley broke state ethics and campaign laws and referred the matter to prosecutors.
In a court hearing, Bentley appeared sullen and looked down at the floor as he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of failing to file a major contribution report and converting campaign contributions to personal to use.
The agreement specifies that Bentley must surrender campaign funds totaling $36,912 within a week and perform 100 hours of community service as a physician. He also cannot seek public office again.
Bentley’s resignation follows the ouster of former House Speaker Mike Hubbard, who left office in 2016 after being convicted on ethics charges, and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was suspended from his post last year over an order opposing same-sex marriage.