A state representative in Michigan appears to have been caught falsely claiming he was gay … in order to distract from an actual heterosexual affair he was conducting with a colleague. The lawmaker, Todd Courser, a Republican, planted rumors that he had solicited the services of a gay male escort to keep his dalliance secret from his wife of 14 years, his family, and other interested parties.
The whole sordid saga comes from recordings released Friday by the Detroit News. In the recordings, Courser talks about distributing an email that would claim he was caught having sex with a male prostitute. In doing so, he apparently believed this would help hide an ongoing romantic fling with fellow Republican representative Cindy Gamrat.
In the recording, Courser tells Michigan House aide Benjamin Graham that he hoped the email would create a “complete smear campaign” against him that would make the revelation of an alleged relationship with Gamrat appear “mild by comparison.” He repeatedly described his strategy as a “controlled burn.”
“This is the lead-in. We go with the sham, the scam … this is the best [plan] we came up with.”
Like Courser, Gamrat is married with children. Both, moreover, were elected to Michigan’s legislature by campaigning as socially conservative members of the Tea Party.
The recordings were apparently made surreptitiously by Graham, who claims he was fired by Courser in July after refusing to take part in his scheme.
“This kind of stuff never stays hidden,” Graham told Courser in a text message obtained by the Detroit News. “It’s going to blow up, and I can’t help cover it up … My best advice, consider resigning. You may be able to protect Cindy and her family and your family.”
But Graham’s refusal didn’t stop the email from going out. On May 20, Republican activists in Michigan received an email containing the salacious allegations Courser discusses in the recordings.
“Breaking Scandal! State Rep Courser Caught behind a Lansing nightclub!” the email exclaims. “Truth!!!! Courser secretly Removed from Caucus several weeks ago due to male on male paid for sex behind a prominent Lansing nightclub! Action soon coming to remove Courser! He is a bi-sexual porn addicted sex deviant!”
The email matches nearly word-for-word with what Courser suggests Graham include in an email.
In another recording taken by Graham a few days later with both Courser and Gamrat present, Gamrat urges Graham to remain quiet about the affair for the sake of the children in both their families.
But barely six weeks alter, Graham was out of a job, as was Gamrat aide Keith Allard, who allegedly also declined to help with a cover-up.
Courser declined to comment to the Detroit News about the recordings’ contents and about the allegation he fired Graham for refusing to help him.
Michigan House Speaker Kevin Cotter said Friday that he wants an investigation into whether any illegal activity occurred.
This report, by Blake Neff, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.