By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
The former head of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency believes attorneys for former Gov. Robert Bentley are trying to use a court proceeding to gain inside knowledge of an ongoing criminal investigation possibly involving Bentley, according to a court filing.
The filing from Spencer Collier, the former ALEA secretary and current police chief in Selma, was in response to a proposed order from attorneys representing Bentley and Stan Stabler, who was Collier’s successor at ALEA. That filing sought to have a court order Collier to answer questions about his private conversations with representatives from the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, who were questioning Collier as part of an ongoing investigation.
The Alabama Political Reporter reported several weeks ago that a grand jury in Montgomery was questioning witnesses and that sources reported its focus was at least partially tied to Bentley and issues stemming from his tenure as Alabama’s governor.
“Collier also does not believe that information related to the criminal investigation of Bentley and others is relevant to this civil case and is an attempt by Bentley and Stabler to try to determine what evidence the Special Prosecutions Division of the Attorney General’s Office may have that relates to Bentley, Stabler and others,” Collier states in his response.”
Collier also noted in his filing Thursday that Rebekah Mason, the former top advisor to Bentley and his alleged mistress, has informed the court that she will not answer any questions in this lawsuit but will invoke her 5th amendment rights against self-incrimination. That act would seem to indicate the existence of an ongoing investigation in which Mason could incriminate herself.
All of the filings are part of a lawsuit filed by Collier for wrongful termination and defamation, alleging that he was fired by Bentley after he refused to follow a directive that was illegal — lying in an affidavit to the court in former House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s trial. Collier claims that after he was fired, Bentley, Mason and Stabler implemented a smear campaign against him that, among other things, included allegations of misusing funds at ALEA.
As part of his claims, Colliers notes that an investigation into those allegations was conducted and the results turned over to a grand jury for review. The AG’s office said the grand jury found no evidence of wrongdoing, and went a step further to say that there was no evidence presented to even support the opening of an investigation into Collier.
During a deposition in his lawsuit, Collier told attorneys for Bentley and Stabler that he held approximately 10 conversations with AG’s office officials in addition to his testimony before the grand jury. Collier says in Thursday’s filing that the conversations were instances in which he provided the AG’s office information as part of what he assumes is an ongoing investigation into Bentley, Mason and Stabler, and possibly others.
The attorneys for Bentley and Stabler are asking Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Greg Griffin to force Collier to answer questions about those conversations.
Collier’s attorney, Kenny Mendelsohn, wants a hearing before Griffin and to allow the AG’s office to weigh in on the matter.