Attorneys for former Gov. Robert Bentley and former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency secretary Stan Stabler renewed their push on Monday to learn intricate details of the state’s investigation of Bentley.
In a motion filed in former ALEA secretary Spencer Collier’s defamation and wrongful termination lawsuit, Bentley and Stabler’s attorneys ask Montgomery Circuit Court Judge Greg Griffin to force Collier to answer deposition questions concerning several conversations he held with investigators from the Alabama Attorney General’s Office. Those conversations, mostly from 2016, were held as part of the AG’s ongoing investigation of Bentley and his potential misuse of state funds and campaign finance violations.
Bentley eventually pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors and resigned from office. Stabler was fired shortly thereafter by current Gov. Kay Ivey.
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 said 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, Stabler, and possibly others.
The AG’s office was interested in Collier’s information because the former ALEA head had firsthand knowledge of Bentley’s alleged affair with staffer Rebekah Mason. Collier also had reportedly been fired by Bentley — at Mason’s direction — for refusing Bentley’s order to refuse to cooperate with the AG’s office’s investigation of former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard.
After Collier was fired, numerous reports of alleged misconduct and potential fraud committed by Collier during his time leading ALEA found their way into the media. Following an investigation of those allegations by the AG’s office, it released a statement clearing Collier of any wrongdoing.
Collier’s attorneys argued originally, in part, that the conversations between Collier and the AG’s office were irrelevant to the ongoing proceedings and were nothing more than Bentley’s attorneys fishing for information related to an ongoing grand jury probe.
Bentley and Stabler now argue that the aforementioned grand jury in Montgomery has been dissolved with no additional indictments and claim that the content of the Collier conversations with the AG’s office could be important.
“As long as Collier refuses to testify about those discussions, Stabler and the other Defendants will not know what those conversations were or how they bear on this important issue,” the motion reads. “Stabler and the other Defendants will be forced to defend themselves against a conclusion they cannot gather any underlying information about.”