That is among the key findings from a House Judiciary Committee impeachment report released late this afternoon.
Heather Hannah, who had been an assistant to Dianne Bentley prior to the first lady's divorce from Gov. Bentley after 50 years of marriage, became the target of an intimidation campaign from the governor's office. It included at least two confrontations with Gov. Bentley himself.
The 131-page report broadly found that Gov. Bentley used law-enforcement personnel to help cover up the affair with Mason. From the report:
Governor Bentley directed law enforcement to advance his personal interests and, in a process characterized by increasing obsession and paranoia, subjected career law enforcement officers to tasks intended to protect his reputation.
The most stunning example of the administration's "obsession and paranoia" involved Heather Hannah. From the report:
The first evidence of this obsession occurred in the Spring of 2014 and involved Heather Hannah. At the time the recordings were made, Hannah was just a few months shy of her departure from Ms. Bentley’s staff, which occurred after the Republican Primary in June. As Hannah describes it, Governor Bentley blamed Hannah for the existence of the tapes because he believed there was no possible way Ms. Bentley could have made them without her help. As the existence of the recordings became known, Hannah began to hear through other staff members and officials that Governor Bentley perceived her as problematic due to the existence of the recordings.
That led to two encounters with Gov. Bentley, labeled "The Kitchen Confrontation" and "The Parking Lot Confrontation." From the report, about the first encounter:
Hannah testified that Governor Bentley’s suspicion of her was so great that he personally confronted her on two occasions at the Governor’s Mansion. One confrontation took place in front of a wall of refrigerators in the kitchen of the Mansion. Governor Bentley pointed his finger in Hannah’s face and threatened, “You will never work in the State of Alabama again if you tell anyone about this (the affair).” Hannah relates that she was not intimidated by this encounter but believes intimidation was Governor Bentley’s intent. She described his demeanor as angry and that he was speaking to her in a loud tone of voice.
Gov. Bentley's intimidation efforts did not stop there. From the report:
The second Bentley confrontation of Hannah occurred shortly thereafter when she came face-to-face with Governor Bentley in the parking lot of the Mansion. Then, Governor Bentley confronted her about his suspicion that she had bugged his office to listen to conversations between him and Mason. Hannah relates that Governor Bentley warned her to “watch herself,” that she “did not know what she was getting into,” and that because he was the governor, people “bow to his throne.”
Hannah was set to testify in a deposition before the Alabama Ethics Commission in June 2016, and she soon had reason to fear for her safety:
In June 2016, Heather Hannah provided deposition testimony to the Alabama Ethics Commission regarding her knowledge of the Bentley-Mason relationship. In that same month, she was the victim of two separate incidents of vandalism at her residence. She related that the first incident occurred before her testimony to the ethics commission and the second occurred shortly thereafter. Both incidents were reported to law enforcement after the second incident . . .
The two acts of vandalism are described in the report as "The Vehicle Incident" and "The House Incident." The first came just before Hannah's deposition, and the second came afterward:
Within a few days of Hannah’s deposition, she believes on or about June 6, 2016, Hannah was outside of her new home watering plants when she heard what sounded like her bushes rustling. Unsure of the source of the noise, she walked to the front of her house where she noticed “scribbles” on the windows of her vehicle. She stated that at the time she could tell the scribbles were some sort of writing, but she had difficulty reading it. She took photographs of the writing on her windows, and it showed up much clearer in the pictures. Hannah provided the two pictures to Special Counsel, which are attached to this report and contained in Exhibit 9A at 217-218. The first photograph is of writing on what appears to be the driver side windows of her vehicle, and it appears to read, “Bitch Die.” The second photograph is of writing on the windshield, and it appears to read, “You will fucking die.”
From the report, about the second incident:
On June 15, 2016, Hannah was at her home preparing for bed. She turned off the light in her kitchen and was walking to the back of her house when she heard the sound of breaking glass. She walked back to her kitchen where she believed the sound originated and saw a rock lying on the floor. She also observed a broken panel in a large window on the front of her house. Hannah immediately called the police, who came to her home and took a police report at twenty minutes after midnight. At that time, Hannah also advised the officers of the vandalism of her vehicle. The police report reflects that Hannah told the officers at the time that she believed both incidents were related to her recent deposition.
Hannah testified during her deposition by Special Counsel that she believed both incidents were related to her testimony before the Alabama Ethics Commission. She based that belief on two facts. First, she could recall no personal or business conflicts outside of her service in the Office of the Governor. Second, her residence was located in a Birmingham suburb with an exceptionally low crime rate. It is also important to note that she had recently moved to the residence, and to her knowledge, her address had not been officially changed. However, she had sent a text message to a number of friends, updating her address. She stated that the distribution list of her text would have included friends with “pretty strong connections to the capital.”
The full investigative report is embedded below: