By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published on April 4, 2018
Former Alabama governor Robert Bentley is a free man tonight. He will not face criminal prosecution by state or federal prosecutors for using state and federal tax dollars, campaign funds, and "dark money" to romance Rebekah Mason, his longtime married lover.
Prosecutors announced today that they could not find a crime in Bentley's "sex for power" scandal with Mason. With this announcement, prosecutors closed the criminal investigation.
On April 22, 2016, I smelled a rat coming in this investigation. I focused the public's attention on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals case in McDonald v. State, 57 Ala. App. 529, 329 So. 2d 583 (Crim. App. 1975) 57 Ala. App. 529, 329 So.2d 583. This case involved former Madison County Judge Thomas D. McDonald, who was charged with soliciting sexual favors from a woman appearing in his court on a criminal charge of larceny in exchange for dismissing her case. The woman reported this solicitation to the proper authorities and her case was transferred to another judge. McDonald was then charged with bribery, tried and convicted. His conviction was upheld on appeal.
The Court of Appeals ruling revealed that Judge McDonald had the female defendant in this criminal case brought to his private courthouse chambers; he then closed the door to make sure the two of them were alone; afterwards, he told the woman how attractive she was; he put his arms around her; he promised to dismiss her case if she would allow him to enjoy the pleasures of her body; and he asked this woman to meet him at a motel that night.
Judge McDonald exhibited a pattern and practice of soliciting sexual favors from women appearing in his court in exchange for favorable court action in these women’s cases.
The Court of Appeals ruled in plain and direct language that “sexual intercourse, the promise of sexual intercourse, or the promise of other sexual favors or relationship” in exchange for official action constitutes a “thing of value” within the meaning of Alabama’s bribery statute. The holding in McDonald v. State is still good case law in Alabama.
Under the McDonald v. State legal standard, Rebekah Mason successfully and repeatedly bribed a willing and horny Robert Bentley on a regular basis by allowing him to fondle her breasts, grab her buttocks, probe her vaginal area, and engage in other intimate sexual acts. It is clear that Bentley, on some occasions, solicited these sexual favors. The couple’s sexual bribery occurred on and off state-owned property.
After Rebekah Mason started accommodating Bentley’s sexual solicitations and desires, the governor began the process of transferring his constitutional powers as governor to Mason. She used these executive powers to confer economic benefits upon herself and her family. Bentley cloaked Mason with all of the indicia of his official office, thereby making her the “de facto” governor of Alabama. Once Rebekah Mason secured Bentley’s executive powers, she ruled Alabama with an iron fist.
Furthermore, Bentley made sure that state resources, state and federal tax dollars, and campaign funds were available to Rebekah Mason and himself for the purpose of facilitating this sexual bribery.
Bentley attempted to conceal the many occurrences of sexual bribery with the following telltale actions: (a) he began locking the doors to his private office when he was alone with Rebekah; (b) he moved executive assistant Wanda Kelly’s desk further away from his private office; (c) he required the execution of signed non-disclosure agreement by members of his executive security team; (d) he began a pattern of habitual lying to members of his staff and cabinet; (e) he scolded and intimidate staff members who questioned his relationship with Rebekah; (f) he engaged in secret interludes inside the romantic gazebo and private areas of the Winton Blount Mansion in Montgomery, which was officially closed to the public for renovations; (g) he arranged on some occasions for the couple to travel out-of-state together in separate private airplanes (i.e., the state airplane for himself and campaign airplane for Rebekah) to the same locations; (h) he secured adjoining hotel rooms with inner-room connecting doors; (i) he established and shared a secret bank safe deposit box with Rebekah; (j) he accepted kickback cash from Rebekah; (k) he erased incriminating text messages from his cell phone; (l) he thereafter used disposable “burner” cell phones to talk secretly with Rebekah; (m) he used money laundering schemes to facilitate Rebekah’s opportunity to skim money from vendor contracts and for her to pay him cash kickbacks; and (n) he instigated malicious regulatory and law enforcement investigations of online journalists/whistleblowers Roger Alan Shuler and me. All of Bentley’s efforts to cover-up the sexual bribery scheme failed.
Had the relationship between Bentley and Mason had been a proper, professional and ethical one, none of the governor’s cover-up actions would have been necessary.
If there was any reasonable doubt about the occurrence of sexual bribery between Robert Bentley and Rebekah Mason, this doubt was permanently removed by Bentley’s graphic description of the sexual favors he solicited and Rebekah granted, as captured on the audiotapes of Bentley’s phone-sex chat with Rebekah in 2014. The acts of sexual bribery occurred from the time Mason enjoyed Bentley in his boxer shorts to the time he was feeling her breasts.
The sexual favors between Bentley and Rebekah were far greater in nature and scope than what Judge McDonald sought with the woman involved in his case. In comparison to Judge McDonald, Bentley’s Viagra-fueled sexual appetite for Rebekah was insatiable.
Prosecutors gave Bentley and Rebekah a big break today. This is why the love birds are smiling tonight. It amounted to a prosecutorial "pass" for sexual bribery.
Would an lesser known public official have gotten this break? No.
Is there equal justice in Alabama? Definitely, not.
PHOTO: Former Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and lover Rebekah Mason are "all-smiles." Today, prosecutors closed their criminal investigation of the lovers' use of tax dollars, campaign funds, and "dark money" to fund their illicit love affair. In doing so, Bentley and Mason escaped criminal justice, once again.