Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat — two former Republican lawmakers who made national news after they tried to cover up an extramarital affair that sent shockwaves throughout the Capitol last year — are now facing felony charges in the sex scandal. According to a report from the Detroit Free Press, Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Friday that warrants have been issued for the arrest of the disgraced state representatives.
Courser faces three counts of misconduct in office — felonies that are each punishable by up to 5 years in prison — and he also was charged with perjury for lying to lawmakers under oath, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Courser could spend up to 30 years behind bars if he is convicted on all counts. Meanwhile, former Republican Rep. Cindy Gamrat faces two charges of misconduct. If found guilty, Gamrat could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and also could be fined up to $10,000.
Courser’s charges are detailed in the below text.
- A perjury charge for lying under oath while testifying before a special House committee about letting an aide forge his signature on a bill he wanted to file before other representatives could.
- Three counts of misconduct in office for allegedly lying to the House Business Office, which investigated the two lawmakers; instructing his staff to forge his signature on bills; and asking House aide Ben Graham to send a fake email to Republicans across the state, which Graham refused to do.
As NBC News explained, Courser resigned and Gamrat was expelled following Courser’s email he sent 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 fraudulent email reportedly labeled Courser as a “bi-sexual porn addicted sex deviant.” The purpose of the email was to make the extramarital affair between him and Gamrat less believable in case it was exposed, Courser later admitted.
“When you’re elected to serve in any public office, you receive a special responsibility from the people. It’s called trust. It’s called judgment. It’s called honesty,” Schuette was quoted as saying during a news conference. “But Representatives Courser and Gamrat, sadly, failed to serve their constituents in an honorable fashion. And worse yet, we allege… that they broke the law. When you lie under oath, those are ingredients for charges of perjury.”
“This is our system of democracy,” Schuette added. “And when you hold the public trust, and there’s questions of misconduct in office and that you lied under oath, I think those are serious. Those are real.”
If Courser and Gamrat fail to turn themselves in by Wednesday, they will be arrested, Schuette spokeswoman Andrea Bitely said.
While Mike Nichols, the attorney for Gamrat, said he’s reviewing the charges, Courser’s attorney is calling the charges “baseless” and “political in nature,” and he claims they are designed “to take heat off the misconduct of others.”
“Todd Courser will continue to defend himself against these baseless and unconstitutional charges,” a statement from Matt DePerno, Courser’s attorney, reads. “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.”
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