Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, the Republican politicians who were ousted in September, are now facing felony charges. The two Michigan lawmakers were forced out of office due to an affair and a bizarre cover-up could face five to 15 years behind bars, according to Daily Mail.
Courser resigned and Gamrat was expelled after Courser sent an email to GOP activists and reporters under the pretense of a smear campaign claiming he had been caught in the act with a male prostitute behind a Lansing nightclub. The phony email, which called Todd a “bi-sexual porn addicted sex deviant,” was intended to make the extramarital affair between him and Cindy less believable in case it was exposed, Courser later said.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette obtained warrants for four felonies against Courser: lying under oath to the Select Committee in the House of Representatives, a 15-year felony, and three counts of misconduct in office in connection with lying to the House Business Office, asking staffers to send a false e-mail and also asking them to forge his signature on proposed legislation.
While Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat face several charges, Gamrat faces two felonies for misconduct in office: for asking staffers to sign her name to legislative proposals and lying to the House Business Office. The misconduct charges carry a 5-year maximum penalty. Courser denied the charges as “baseless” on Saturday.
“Todd Courser will continue to defend himself against these baseless and unconstitutional charges. He is confident that the truth will come out and that these baseless charges will be shown to be just another extension of corrupt government,” said a statement on his Facebook page.
Courser has said an “anonymous” blackmailer was sending him and Gamrat texts, demanding his resignation, and that he hoped sending the phony email would make it appear they were victims of a smear campaign and that news of the affair would take a back seat to that if the affair was made public.
Gamrat maintains she didn’t know the content of the email, which Courser sent in May, but has admitted to official misconduct and misuse of state resources.
News that former state reps Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat would face felony misconduct charges for their role in a scandal to cover up their extramarital affair drew reaction from Democrats and Republicans alike.
An investigation found that Gamrat’s husband, Joe, orchestrated the anonymous texts that threatened to expose their affair. He allegedly had a security guard send texts from a burner phone. No charges have been pressed against him.
“When House Speaker Kevin Cotter and House Republicans tried to sweep Courser and Gamrat’s misconduct under the rug by expelling them from the House without a criminal investigation, House Democrats boldly insisted that the attorney general and the Michigan State Police investigate criminal wrongdoing as part of the expulsion. The results of their investigation prove that was the right move,” House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel said in a statement.
The affair between the Courser and Gamrat was made public in early August when Graham, a former staffer of Courser and Gamrat, released audio recordings of Courser asking him to help send a bizarre email in which the lawmaker accused himself of having sex with a male prostitute and doing drugs, a “controlled burn” designed to discredit any revelations of his relationship with Gamrat.
Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat were only recently elected: They came into office in 2014 as popular tea party winners. Their scandal broke last August.
“With the filing of charges, we’re demonstrating to citizens that no one is above the law,” Michigan Attorney General Schuette said Friday. “Not even those who walk in the halls of power. No one is beyond the reach of the law.”