The Latest: Special elections set to replace 2 lawmakers

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Posted: Sep 11, 2015 4:45 PM
The Latest: Special elections set to replace 2 lawmakers

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The latest on Michigan lawmakers embroiled in an extramarital affair cover-up (all times local):

4:40 p.m.

Special primary and general elections will be held Nov. 3 and March 8 to replace two Michigan lawmakers forced out of office for attempting to conceal their extramarital affair.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley announced Friday that the elections will coincide with already-scheduled elections to minimize costs. The general elections in the 80th and 82nd House districts will occur the same day as Michigan's presidential primary.

Republican Rep. Todd Courser of Lapeer resigned early Friday rather than be expelled. Republican Rep. Cindy Gamrat of Plainwell was expelled.

Calley called the elections because Gov. Rick Snyder is out of the state on a trade mission in Japan.

Candidates have just a week to file to appear on the primary ballots in the Republican-leaning seats.

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3:55 p.m.

A Michigan lawmaker who was expelled from office for attempting to conceal an extramarital affair with another legislator says she was mistrustful of government and put up a "wall" when she arrived in the Capitol as a "naive" freshman more than eight months ago.

Ex-Rep. Cindy Gamrat told reporters Friday at an East Lansing law firm that she never wanted to be remembered as the fourth lawmaker in state history to be kicked out. But her three kids urged her to fight for a lighter punishment.

The Republican says there would have been "honor" in resigning but also in trying to stay on to seek redemption.

The House Business Office says it found dishonesty, misconduct and misuse of public resources by Gamrat and former Rep. Todd Courser, who resigned.

The state attorney general and state police are investigating potential crimes. But Gamrat's attorney Mike Nichols says outside of possible civil penalties for potential campaign-finance violations, nothing uncovered in an initial House probe concerns him.

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12:30 p.m.

Attorney General Bill Schuette's office says an investigation of the "Courser-Gamrat matter" is already open.

Spokesman John Sellek says the office is working with Michigan State Police on a "complete and thorough" investigation "without fear or favor," but declined to offer any details Friday.

The House Business Office says it found dishonesty, misconduct and misuse of public resources by Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, allegations that led to his resignation and her removal from office.

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11:00 a.m.

The Michigan Democratic Party chairman is confident that law enforcement will uncover the truth after one socially conservative Michigan lawmaker was expelled from office and another resigned over their bungled attempts to conceal an extramarital affair.

Brandon Dillon said in a statement Friday that he commends Democrats in the state House "who stayed true to their convictions that Michigan taxpayers deserve a real, independent investigation."

State police plan to investigate if there was any criminal wrongdoing.

Rep. Todd Courser announced his resignation during an overnight session in the House over whether he and fellow GOP Rep. Cindy Gamrat should stay in their jobs. Gamrat was expelled an hour after Courser's resignation.

The full chamber was deadlocked for hours as more than two dozen minority Democrats refused to vote saying a House committee investigation had been rushed.

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6:15 a.m.

The leaders of Michigan's House say a police investigation into two lawmakers who had an extramarital affair and admitted to misconduct in attempting to cover it up is an appropriate next step.

Republican Speaker Kevin Cotter says in a statement Friday that the "serious findings of the House Business Office" are why the House wanted further investigation into the "behavior and antics of the representatives."

Michigan State Police plan to investigate potential criminal wrongdoing.

Rep. Todd Courser announced his resignation amid a marathon overnight session in the House over whether he and fellow GOP Rep. Cindy Gamrat should stay in their jobs. Gamrat was expelled an hour after Courser's resignation.

House Minority Leader Tim Greimel says "we are confident that there will finally be an independent investigation into this matter."

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5:45 a.m.

A Michigan lawmaker who unsuccessfully urged her colleagues to censure her for an extramarital affair cover-up is now the fourth legislator in state history to be expelled from office.

Republican Rep. Cindy Gamrat declined comment while immediately being escorted from the Capitol early Friday. Moments before the 91-12 expulsion vote, she apologized to colleagues and said she did "everything I can to redeem the situation."

Republican Rep. Todd Courser, with whom she had the affair, decided to resign rather than be expelled.

Courser sent a phony email claiming he was caught with a male prostitute. It was an effort to make the affair with Gamrat less believable if it were exposed by an anonymous blackmailer. She admitted knowing about the email but not its contents.

Gamrat says resigning would have been easier, but she wanted a chance to "do better."

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5:25 a.m.

Michigan State Police plan to investigate potential criminal wrongdoing by two lawmakers who had an extramarital affair and admitted to misconduct in attempting to cover it up.

The agency says in a statement Friday it "will honor the requests made by the Legislature" for an investigation.

The announcement came after Republican Rep. Todd Courser announced his resignation amid a marathon overnight session in the House over whether he and Rep. Cindy Gamrat should stay in their jobs. Gamrat was expelled an hour after Courser's resignation.

Gov. Rick Snyder says he supports the state police in opening an investigation. In a statement, he says: "This matter needs to be resolved and an investigation by MSP will provide even further clarity."

Snyder says: "I hope this investigation helps bring closure to the issue."

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4:20 a.m.

A Michigan lawmaker has been expelled from the House for misconduct in her role covering up an extramarital affair with another lawmaker.

Republican Rep. Cindy Gamrat's expulsion early Friday came shortly after fellow lawmaker Republican Rep. Todd Courser decided to resign rather than be expelled.

Courser had sent a phony email claiming he was caught with a male prostitute. It was an effort to make the affair with Gamrat less believable if it were exposed by an anonymous blackmailer.

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3:50 a.m.

A Michigan lawmaker who resigned rather than be expelled for his role in an extramarital affair cover-up says it was the "appropriate" time to go.

Republican Rep. Todd Courser submitted his resignation letter on the House floor shortly after 3 a.m. Friday, as the deadlocked House prepared to vote for a second time on kicking him out.

Courser, who was immediately escorted out by sergeants, tells reporters Democrats who had deadlocked the first vote by abstaining ultimately would have joined Republicans to expel him. The Democrats had criticized the investigation as rushed and self-serving.

Courser says he put the public, his family, fellow legislators and constituents "through a whole bunch."

Courser sent a phony email claiming he was caught with a male prostitute. It was an effort to make the affair with Republican Rep. Cindy Gamrat less believable if it were exposed by an anonymous blackmailer.

Gamrat also faces an expulsion vote, and the House remains in session.

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3:15 a.m.

One of two Michigan lawmakers embroiled in scandal over their extramarital affair and attempt to cover it up has resigned.

Republican Rep. Todd Courser announced his resignation early Friday morning, saying it was effective immediately. He was escorted out of the chamber. His decision came amid a marathon session in the House over whether he and Rep. Cindy Gamrat should stay in their jobs.

On Thursday, a disciplinary committee recommended the expulsion of both lawmakers. But the chamber was deadlocked for hours over what discipline Courser should receive, as dozens of minority Democrats abstained from voting and criticized the process.

Courser sent a phony email claiming he was caught with a male prostitute. It was an effort to make the affair less believable if it were exposed by an anonymous blackmailer. He apologized but previously said he would not resign.

No decision has been made on Gamrat's discipline.

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1:15 a.m.

The Michigan House remains at a standstill over expelling two lawmakers who had an extramarital affair and admitted to misconduct in attempting to cover it up.

Legislators are in session early Friday, hours after they began voting Thursday afternoon.

Sixty-seven members of the Republican-led chamber have voted to kick out Republican Rep. Todd Courser. But six more are needed for a supermajority, and dozens of Democrats refuse to vote, saying they have concerns with how a House panel conducted its investigation.

Republicans says it's time to move past the scandal.

GOP Rep. Cindy Gamrat is also waiting to learn her fate.

An aide to Gamrat and Courser secretly recorded Courser asking him to send a phony email to make the affair less believable if it were exposed by an anonymous blackmailer.