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House committee recommends expulsion for Courser and Gamrat

Sep 10, 2015

Update 2:15 p.m.

Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell, says she's "shocked" a panel is recommending expulsion for her involvement in a bizarre cover-up attempt of her extramarital affair with another lawmaker.

Gamrat tells The Associated Press she won't resign before the House votes, possibly later Thursday. She says while no promises were made, she "was coerced" to admit to various allegations of wrongdoing with an understanding that the committee would support a censure.

She says not everything in a House investigation is true.

Gamrat is "very disappointed" majority Republicans blocked Democrats' attempts to hear from staffers who worked for her and Republican Rep. Todd Courser.

An aide to Gamrat and Courser, who was later fired, secretly recorded Courser asking him to send a phony email to make the affair less believable if it were exposed by an anonymous blackmailer.

Here’s that recording.

Gamrat says the speaker's office knew of recordings and should have notified her that her aides were recording her.

11:00 a.m.

A state House committee has recommended that state Representatives Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, and Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell, be expelled from office for misconduct.

It was a party-line vote on the committee. Republicans supported it, while Democrats abstained saying there’s more to learn and want the lawmakers’ former staffers subpoenaed.

The embattled Tea Party Republicans were in the audience as the resolutions cleared the committee.

The House could vote on the resolutions this afternoon.

It would require two-thirds super-majorities to remove the lawmakers.

Mike Nichols is Gamrat’s attorney. He says the process has been very tough on his client.

"She’s being held together by string, gum, maybe a little bit of lipstick," says Nichols. "It’s  not been a very easy week."

Nichols says resignation is an option before a vote on the House floor, possibly this afternoon.

It would take two-thirds votes to remove the lawmakers.

Courser says he won’t resign.

It's not clear whether the votes are there to expel the lawmakers. More from Chad Livengood of the Detroit News:

Not counting Courser and Gamrat, the GOP controls 61 seats and would need 12 Democrats to support an ouster of either representative.

Gamrat attorney Mike Nichols signaled that he and the lawmaker would lobby Democrats for “no” votes.

But Nichols also said it’s still possible Gamrat would resign before a vote is held, which other discredited legislators have done in the past to avoid a historic explusion.

Just three legislators have been expelled in Michigan history.

Courser sent a phony email claiming he was caught with a male prostitute. It was an effort to make the affair less believable if it were exposed by an anonymous blackmailer.

Gamrat says she discussed the plot with Courser, but didn't know the email's content in advance.

*This post has been updated.