Ex-Michigan lawmakers face felony charges over affair

Two former Michigan lawmakers were charged Friday with felony misconduct in office, the state attorney general announced, after their extramarital affair snowballed into a political scandal when one of them concocted a bizarre cover story about being caught with a male prostitute.

Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette said former Republican state Rep. Todd Courser faces three counts of misconduct in office, a felony that is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Schuette said Courser also was charged with perjury for lying to lawmakers under oath, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Former Republican Rep. Cindy Gamrat faces two charges of misconduct.

"It's called trust. It's called judgment. It's called honesty," Schuette said at a news conference. "But Representatives Courser and Gamrat, sadly, failed to serve their constituents in an honorable fashion ... worse yet ... they broke the law."

The charges were filed Friday in Ingham County District Court. The Associated Press left messages seeking comment from Courser and Gamrat.

The investigation began late last summer. According to Schuette's office, the two freshman lawmakers and self-proclaimed social conservatives engaged "in a pattern of corrupt misconduct while holding office."

Their affair developed into a political scandal after Courser attempted to distract attention with a self-smear email sent to GOP activists stating that he'd been caught with a male prostitute "behind a prominent Lansing nightclub."

Courser resigned before he could be expelled from office. Gamrat was expelled.