WASHINGTON: The governor of the conservative southern US state of Alabama resigned, shortly after lawmakers began impeachment proceedings linked to his affair with a senior aide that was made public in humiliating detail.
Robert Bentley, 74, pleaded guilty in an agreement with prosecutors to two misdemeanour campaign violations and is barred from seeking public office again.
"I have spent the last year in deep and earnest prayer over our state and our people. I pray every morning for wisdom and guidance and forgiveness for the sins I have committed," the former dermatologist and church deacon told a news conference announcing his resignation, never directly acknowledging his romantic relationship with the 45-year-old political adviser.
The relationship between Bentley and his married aide became a topic of speculation in 2015, when his wife of 50 years, Dianne, abruptly filed for divorce. The scandal broke last spring when the state's top police officer -- fired by Bentley -- provided the news organisation AL.com with salacious details of the secret romance.
The media outlet reported on a 2014 phone conversation between Bentley and a woman he called Rebekah that was secretly captured by Dianne Bentley. Last week, an impeachment investigation report prepared for the Alabama House Judiciary Committee said Bentley tried to cover up the affair "in a process characterised by increasing obsession and paranoia."
The report revealed that Bentley once opened the door of his hotel room in Washington clad in boxer shorts, thinking Mason was the other side when it was actually hotel staff. On the same trip in 2014, Dianne Bentley attended a group dinner with her husband and Mason and saw the text messages he was sending his mistress while seated next to his wife.