Robert Bentley is being sued. Again.
Alabama’s former governor, who is currently in the midst of a defamation lawsuit for allegedly spreading false information in an effort to conceal his ongoing inappropriate relationship with a staffer, is being sued now by James Nolin, the former chief information officer in Alabama’s Department of Finance, who claims Bentley defamed him in an effort to conceal the former governor’s inappropriate relationship.
Specifically, Nolin’s lawsuit claims that after Nolin complied with a subpoena to turn over Bentley’s emails to law enforcement investigators, Bentley launched a campaign to ruin Nolin, ultimately accusing him of several crimes, painting him as the suspect in an FBI investigation and personally terminating him.
Nolin is also suing former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency secretary Stan Stabler and ALEA attorney Michael Robinson for their roles in assisting Bentley.
“After Nolin produced the emails, the Defendants set out to destroy Nolin’s reputation and credibility as a potential witness against Bentley and to further cover up Bentley’s criminal and unethical conduct related to his affair with Rebekah Mason,” Nolin’s lawsuit states. “Bentley had a pattern and practice of using and attempting to use ALEA and its law enforcement officers, agents and employees and other public resources, including subordinate personnel, equipment and time under his control, for his own personal interests at taxpayers’ expense.”
According to the lawsuit, Bentley, Stabler and Robinson accused Nolin of breaking the law by accessing records on the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center (ACJIC). However, as a member of the ACJIC Commission, by virtue of his position, Nolin says he was authorized to access records.
That apparently didn’t stop Bentley from initiating an investigation, and attempting to coax the FBI into also investigating the potential crimes.
The lawsuit claims that Bentley, Stabler and Robinson then leaked the existence of an investigation — and a potential FBI investigation — to the media. Later, ALEA issued press releases about a “security breach,” and announced Nolin’s firing.
In his lawsuit, Nolin claims Bentley used ALEA to drum up false charges and open bogus investigations of him in the hopes of damaging his credibility. A recent grand jury in Montgomery noted that it found evidence of Bentley doing the same thing to other people, but that Alabama criminal law offered no remedy to punish Bentley for doing so.
The state has already acknowledged that Nolin was treated unfairly. Gov. Kay Ivey, last October, wrote an apology letter to Nolin, in which she apologized for the “unwarranted negative publicity.”