House speaker appeals order to testify in ex-lawmakers’ case

Posted at 6:06 PM, May 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-20 18:06:10-04

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — House Speaker Kevin Cotter has filed an appeal objecting to a judge’s order that he testify in the criminal case of two former lawmakers who were forced from office last year.

As expected, the Republican leader asked an Ingham County circuit judge Friday to reverse District Judge Hugh Clark Jr.’s Thursday ruling.

Cotter says he cannot be compelled to testify next week because of the Michigan Constitution’s speech and debate clause. He also asserts his testimony would violate state law and the separation of powers since expulsion matters are reserved solely for the Legislature.

Former Republican Reps. Todd Courser, who resigned, and Cindy Gamrat, who was expelled, were later charged with felony misconduct in office related to an attempted cover-up of their extramarital affair. Courser also faces a perjury charge.