GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Two former lawmakers forced from office amid a sex scandal last summer have filed separate lawsuits against the state House of Representatives and various government officials, claiming defamation and dirty politics.
Ex representatives Todd Courser of Lapeer County and Cindy Gamrat of Allegan County filed the lawsuits Thursday in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids.
Both claim they were forced from office after it was reported the Tea Party Republicans were having an affair. Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of their departures from the state House.
The civil rights lawsuit filed by Courser is 182-pages long and seeks $10 million. Gamrat, who is representing herself, filed a 10-page complaint asking for at least $25,000.
It is the latest chapter in a torrid sex scandal that captivated Lansing for months, generated two separate lawsuits and led to criminal charges against the pair.
A judge dismissed charges against Gamrat, but ordered Courser to stand trial for perjury and misconduct in office. He’s accused of lying to a legislative committee and ordering staff to forge his signature on documents.
Courser resigned from office on Sept. 11, 2015. Garmat was expelled the same morning.
Gamrat claims she was unable to question or cross-examine witnesses and “challenge false statements’’ prior to her expulsion.
She says she was not allowed adequate time to review a 833-page House Business Office report outlining misconduct in office prior to being booted on a 91 to 12 vote by her peers.
Her lawsuit targets four state lawmakers by name, the state House business director and the full House of Representatives.
Their actions have caused Gamrat to suffer embarrassment, humiliation, anxiety, stress and emotional distress, the lawsuit claims.
Courser is casting a wider net; his lawsuit lists 20 people by name, including Attorney General Bill Schuette, along with a hotel, The Detroit News, Michigan State Police and the House of Representatives.
Courser “was and is being treated as a criminal with regard to enforcement of the House rules and criminalization of supposed ‘breaking of the House rules,’’’ his lawsuit claims.
He says he was deprived of salary and the right to represent his district. “Courser has been unable to practice law in any meaningful way due to the lies that he had committed multiple felonious acts,’’ the suit claims.
(© 2016 WZZM)