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For the second time in as many days, Alabama’s governor defended himself amid allegations that he had an affair with an aide — a scandal that has some in his own party threatening impeachment.
Gov. Robert Bentley, a Republican, toured a women’s prison to highlight overcrowding Thursday, but was again asked about the alleged affair with Rebekah Mason.
Mason resigned Wednesday, and Republican state Rep. Ed Henry said he will begin an impeachment process this week.
"I just want the people of Alabama to know that there is nothing there, there is nothing illegal,” Bentley said at the Tutwiler Prison for Women. "There is nothing that's ever been done that would, that would affect the people of Alabama and affect my job."
Bentley and Mason have both denied a physical relationship took place. Bentley has said no laws were broken and that he will not resign.
The allegations came to light when the fired head of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, Spencer Collier, said he was dismissed for refusing to lie about the alleged relationship.
Collier claimed that Mason wielded such influence with Bentley she was the "de facto governor."
The controversy grew when audio recordings purporting to be of a sexually-charged conversation between Bentley and Mason were published by local media.
On the audio, a man purported to be Bentley can be heard saying: ""You know what? When I stand behind you and I put my arms around you, and I put my hands on your breasts, and I put my hands on you (unintelligible) and pull you real close ... Hey, I love that too, putting my hands under you."
Bentley apologized for a "mistake" but denied a physical affair, or that he used state resources to further a relationship. He apologized for "the things that I said" but has not admitted that his voice was on the recording. Bentley and his wife divorced last year.
The state auditor, also a Republican, filed an ethics report last week questioning whether state property was improperly used, and an ethics commission investigation is pending.
"The only thing that we know is true is that everything that the governor is saying is not true," Rep. Craig Ford, Democratic minority leader in the state House, said Thursday. "The governor needs to resign immediately. If he doesn't resign, the governor needs to be impeached as soon as we go back in session next week."