Gamrat husband ID'd as person who sent Courser texts
Lapeer County Prosecutor Timothy Turkelson said he will not file charges in the case of anonymous text messages sent to former state Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat in an effort to get them to end an extramarital affair.
Turkelson said Gamrat's husband, Joe Gamrat, and other individuals he did not name were responsible for the plan to send texts from a prepaid burner phone.
"The results of the investigation confirm that Joe Gamrat ... was motivated to end the ongoing affair between his wife and Todd Courser," Turkelson said in a statement. "The messages therefore do not rise to the level of criminal extortion."
According to the Michigan State Police report, Joe Gamrat gave co-worker David Horr of Ft. Gratiot money to buy the burner phone. He would then tell him what to say in texts that Horr sent to Courser and Cindy Gamrat. The report also revealed that Joe Gamrat suspected the affair in mid-2014 and placed bugs in his wife's car to try to get evidence of the liaisons.
Courser blasted the decision in a Facebook post and video, saying that two former staffers who were fired were responsible for colluding with Joe Gamrat and the leadership in the Michigan House of Representatives to get him out of office.
"None of this absolves me of my own failures in this, but my failures cannot justify the evil and demonic plot these men carried out — and the hell of lies they have vomited," he said.
Gamrat, in a Facebook post, said she never caved to the demands to resign in the "lurid, disturbing and intimidating messages."
"As you can imagine, I was devastated to hear that the investigation appears to show that a number of individuals, including my husband, former staff from my office, and others, collaborated and had some degree of involvement together," she wrote. "After I have taken the time to look at the full report, I will thoughtfully consider what the right action is to take to move forward."
The former staffers, Ben Graham and Keith Allard, have denied any involvement in a plot to get Courser out of office, but Joe Gamrat told investigators that he frequently communicated with them, along with Josh Cline, who resigned from Courser's office in April.
Courser resigned from his seat in the House of Representatives on Sept. 11, and Gamrat was expelled by her colleagues the same day. Both ran to fill their vacant seats, but lost in the Nov. 3 primary election.
The pair were caught up in a sex scandal and bizarre cover-up in which Courser admitted sending out an anonymous e-mail in which he claimed he was a sexual deviant addicted to porn who paid for sex with men outside of bars in Lansing. The e-mail, which was widely distributed around Lansing, was intended to make it appear that Courser and Gamrat were the victims of a smear campaign and to make news of the affair pale in comparison.
Courser has said he was a desperate man reacting to text messages that threatened to expose the affair if he didn't leave office.
Turkelson said: "None of the individuals involved in this matter come to the table with clean hands. All bear some responsibility in creating this embarrassing and costly chapter in our county's history. Under these circumstances, I see no benefit in prolonging this saga at the expense of Lapeer County taxpayers in a prosecution that would be tenuous, at best."
While this portion of the saga may be over, a lawsuit by Allard and Graham against Courser and Gamrat continues. They have sued the former lawmakers for wrongful termination under the Whistleblowers' Protection Act.http://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2015/11/16/gamrat-husband-idd-person-who-sent-courser-texts/75862402/