Media outlets seek to open governor’s divorce case

Published 9:51 am Tuesday, September 15, 2015

TUSCALOOSA (AP) — Media outlets asked a judge Monday to unseal the divorce case of Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and first lady Dianne Bentley.

A motion filed by a group of Alabama television stations and newspapers said the divorce, filed by the first lady in Tuscaloosa County, was sealed last month following a hurried hearing held without notice to the public.

The motion said the divorce is newsworthy and a fair subject for reporting by the media. Allowing the case to remain closed promotes the spread of rumors, media organizations argued.

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Attorneys for the governor and first lady didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment on the request. The case was initially sealed because of a joint request made by the Bentleys.

In seeking a divorce, Dianne Bentley said the couple’s 50-year marriage had suffered an irretrievable breakdown.

The motion was filed by media organizations including: Consolidated Publishing Co. Inc., publisher of The Anniston Star and Daily Home newspaper in Talladega; CA Media Holdings Inc., publisher of The Gadsden Times; Sinclair Television Stations, which operates ABC 33/40 in Birmingham; Tennessee Valley Printing Inc., publisher of The Decatur Daily and the TimesDaily newspaper in Florence; Tuscaloosa News Inc., publisher of The Tuscaloosa News; WBRC-TV in Birmingham; WAFF-TV in Huntsville; and WSFA-TV in Montgomery.