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Gamrat’s husband was behind anonymous ‘blackmail’ texts

Posted at 4:02 PM, Nov 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-15 16:02:40-05

Cindy Gamrat addressing media in August. Gamrat’s husband Joe can be seen standing behind her.

LAPEER, Mich. — The husband of expelled state Rep. Cindy Gamrat is apparently also the supposed 'blackmailer' behind a slew of anonymous texts sent to his wife and former Rep. Todd Courser that threatened to expose their extramarital affair, according to the Lapeer County Prosecutor's Office.

An investigation into Courser's claims of extortion has been ongoing for months. In late October, Lapeer County Prosecutor Tim Turkleson told FOX 17 that the Michigan State Police had finished an investigation into the text messages and was in the process of forwarding the findings to his office.

According to a release, the prosecutor's office won’t charge Joe Gamrat, Cindy's husband, or anyone else with a crime for their role in sending the text messages.

Further details of the police investigation are expected to be released later this week.

During a press conference Gamrat held in August which was her first public statement after news of the affair broke, Gamrat's husband could be seen standing directly beside her in support of his wife.

Since news first broke in August of the duo's extramarital affair, Courser has claimed anonymous texts blackmailed him into writing the now infamous cover-up email that suggested he was doing drugs and sleeping with a male prostitute.

“What I think the public needs to know is sort of the context in which I made and did this ridiculous email. They need to know the context of that,” Courser told FOX 17 on November 2. “In reality, there was an extortion plot that was happening in the background.”

Courser had long claimed he was being blackmailed by the "Lansing mafia" establishment, even later identifying a longtime Lansing political consultant as being at the center of a plot concocted to remove him from office. The consultant told FOX 17 at the time of allegations he didn't even have Courser's phone number.

In a last ditch effort to release the findings of the MSP investigation ahead of the November primary election, Courser subpoenaed Turkelson to release the details earlier this month.

Both Gamrat and Courser were handily beat in the primary elections as both attempted to win back their former seats. Gamrat, R-Plainwell, was expelled in September following accusations she'd engaged in misconduct and misused taxpayer resources to hide her affair with fellow freshman lawmaker Courser, R-Lapeer.

Courser later resigned the same morning.

An 800-plus page report from an internal House investigation found the two now-disgraced lawmakers "misused" their taxpayer funded offices to cover up their affair, engaging in actions that were "deceptive" and "deceitful," according to summary findings of a House Business Office investigation.

The affair was first reported by the Detroit News, which obtained secret recordings from one of Courser’s former staff members. Courser could be heard on the recordings outlining a plan to spread a rumor that he was caught with a male prostitute to make the affair with Gamrat seem less serious in an effort to create a "controlled burn."