The Latest: Voters confront lawmaker for affair cover-up

AP News
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Posted: Sep 08, 2015 8:40 PM
The Latest: Voters confront lawmaker for affair cover-up

FENNVILLE, Mich. (AP) — The latest on a legislative hearing into misconduct by two Michigan lawmakers who had an extramarital affair (all times local):

8:20 p.m.

Dozens of angry constituents have confronted a Michigan lawmaker for her extramarital affair with another state representative and their attempt to hide it from the public.

Republican Rep. Cindy Gamrat met with people Tuesday night at Fennville City Hall in southwestern Michigan. It's her first constituent meeting since the scandal broke.

Many said they felt betrayed and believed she should resign. Some expressed frustration with her request Tuesday that she be censured, saying such a penalty would be too lenient.

A censure would allow the House to take away Gamrat's committee assignments, staff and ability to send mailings to constituents.

Donna White of Casco Township says letting Gamrat stay in office would still effectively leave the district without representation. She says Gamrat is "selfish" for collecting a salary.

Republican Rep. Todd Courser has admitted to orchestrating a false email that claimed he was having sex with a male prostitute — an effort to make his affair with Gamrat less believable if it was exposed.

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3:35 p.m.

An embattled Michigan lawmaker facing expulsion for trying to cover up an extramarital affair with another legislator is asking to be censured.

Republican Rep. Todd Courser submitted the request Tuesday in a letter to a legislative committee investigating his fitness for office.

The House's top lawyer says Courser should be expelled and Republican Rep. Cindy Gamrat censured.

Courser says his actions after the affair became public were "clearly inappropriate" and an "emotional reaction." He'd accused former aides and the Republican establishment of conspiring against him, calling the panel a "kangaroo court."

Courser orchestrated a false email claiming he was caught having sex with a male prostitute. The goal was to make the affair less believable if it was exposed by an anonymous blackmailer threatening to expose their relationship.

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2:15 p.m.

A Michigan legislative committee considering discipline for two socially conservative lawmakers involved in an extramarital affair and cover-up plot has adjourned for the day.

The panel questioned Republican Rep. Cindy Gamrat Tuesday after she admitted to official misconduct and misusing public resources.

Gamrat, who is married, had an affair with another married lawmaker, Todd Courser. She apologized for her role in a false email orchestrated by Courser that said he'd been caught having sex with a male prostitute.

The goal was to make the affair less believable if it was exposed by an anonymous blackmailer who texted the legislators threatening to expose their relationship.

Asked how she can still represent her district, Gamrat said "a lot of healing ... needs to be done" but it should be up to voters.

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11:50 a.m.

The top aide to Michigan House Speaker Kevin Cotter is recommending that Rep. Todd Courser be expelled from office and Rep. Cindy Gamrat be censured for their roles in trying to hide their extramarital affair.

Brock Swartzle, Cotter's chief of staff and general counsel for the Michigan House, recommended the discipline while testifying Tuesday before a committee investigating the Republicans' fitness for office.

Courser has admitted that he arranged for a phony email to be sent that said he had been caught having sex with a male prostitute. He said the tale would make the affair less believable in case it was exposed by an anonymous blackmailer who texted him and Gamrat saying their relationship would be exposed if he didn't resign.

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11 a.m.

An embattled Michigan lawmaker is admitting to misusing public resources to hide an extramarital affair with another legislator and is asking that she be censured for her misconduct.

Republican Rep. Cindy Gamrat opened a legislative hearing Tuesday by apologizing for her role in an email cover-up. She says she would "humbly" accept a censure.

She had previously denied knowledge of the "over-the-top" email but now admits discussing it with GOP Rep. Todd Courser.

Gamrat read a nine-minute statement in which she said she was "sincerely devastated" by her mistakes.

The committee could recommend discipline, including censure or expulsion.

Courser and Gamrat have apologized but declined calls to resign.

Gamrat, of Plainwell north of Kalamazoo, is scheduled to meet with constituents Tuesday evening for the first time since the scandal broke.