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 / Updated  / Source: Associated Press

A state ethics panel has ruled that there is probable cause that Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley violated state ethics and campaign finance law in a sex-tinged scandal that has engulfed him for more than a year.

The Alabama Ethics Commission voted Wednesday to refer the matter to the district attorney's office for possible prosecution.

The 74-year-old governor has struggled to shake off a scandal after recordings surfaced last year of him making suggestive remarks to a female aide before his divorce.

Bentley has admitted making personal mistakes but denied doing anything illegal or that would merit his removal from office.

State Auditor Jim Zeigler filed an ethics complaint against Bentley accusing him of using state resources to pursue a relationship with the aide.

The commission found probable cause that Bentley misused state resources and improperly accepting a campaign contribution and loan outside allowed fundraising windows.