Prosecutor: Cindy Gamrat's husband was 'blackmailer'

Officials conclude Joe Gamrat's text messages to Todd Courser didn't rise to the level of criminal extortion


LAPEER COUNTY, Mich. – The husband of former Rep. Cindy Gamrat, who was expelled in September, was the so-called "blackmailer" who threatened to expose Rep. Gamrat's affair with fellow lawmaker Todd Courser.

Lapeer County Prosecutor Tim Turkelson confirmed Sunday that he won't charge Joe Gamrat for sending his wife and Courser text messages threatening to expose their affair.

The text messages came from a pre-paid cell phone and pressured the state representatives to resign from office.

Turkelson said the messages sent to Courser do not rise the level of criminal extortion because their intent was simply to end the affair.

Courser had publicly acknowledged that he orchestrated a fictional email campaign in May suggesting he had sex with a male prostitute in order to distract or tamp down attention from his relationship with Cindy Gamrat.

Courser and Gamrat's staff was asked to participate in the shenanigans to preemptively "inoculate the herd" from revelations about the affair. Instead they reported the plot to the office of House Speaker Kevin Cotter.

An internal House of Representatives report claimed that the representatives had committed misconduct in office and misused state recourses to cover up their affair.

Courser resigned from office in September minutes before the state House was to vote on his expulsion. About an hour later the House voted to expel Gamrat.

Both Courser and Gamrat lost bids to win the Republican nominations in November special elections to fill their currently vacant seats.