The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has suspended hearings into the Articles of Impeachment filed against Governor Robert Bentley because the attorney general’s office is conducting a related investigation.
Andalusia-Republican state Rep. Mike Jones on Wednesday said the committee decided to put the proceedings on hold at the request of Attorney General Luther Strange.
“As I said at the first meeting on the Articles of Impeachment, this committee would work cooperatively with other investigating agencies and today’s action testifies to that,” said Jones in a news release. “We are temporarily suspending activity at the attorney general’s request but we are not abdicating our responsibility. Everything the committee has done remains in effect.”
In a letter to Jones on Thursday, Strange said it would be “prudent and beneficial” to delay the work of the committee.
“I respectfully request that the Committee cease active interviews and investigation until I am able to report to you that the necessary related work of my office has been completed,” wrote Strange.
Speaker of the House, Monrovia-Republican Mac McCutcheon says he supports the committee’s decision.
“While I have complete confidence in the Judiciary Committee and its special counsel, I believe that moving forward with the impeachment hearings while there is an active criminal investigation would put a number of parties in a difficult position,” McCutcheon said in a news release. “I support pausing the committee investigation and allowing the criminal proceedings to run their course.”
Bentley released his own statement in response to the letter from Strange and the decision to suspend the impeachment proceedings.
“I respect the position of the Attorney General and the leadership of the House of Representatives. My focus will continue to be on doing the work of the people of Alabama,” said Bentley.
The decision to suspend the proceedings comes just days before the committee was scheduled to set a date to take testimony and evidence. The House Judiciary Committee began Bentley’s impeachment hearings in June.