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Turkelson not charging Joe Gamrat in Courser fiasco (From the 11-15-2015 County Press)

LAPEER — Lapeer County Prosecutor Tim Turkelson on Friday said his office will not be authorizing any charges following a criminal investigation regarding allegations that former state representative Todd Courser was the victim of a text message extortion scheme.

Turkelson’s decision follows review of the extensive investigation conducted by the Michigan State Police.

“The result of the investigation,” said Turkelson, “confirm that Joe Gamrat, the husband of former representative Cindy Gamrat, was motived to end the ongoing affair between his wife and Courser.” He continued, “To accomplish this, a scheme was implemented to contact Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat through text messages sent from a pre-paid cellphone. The motivation behind the text messages sent from the individuals was to assist Joe Gamrat in ending the extramarital affair. The messages therefore do not rise to the level of criminal extortion.”

When reached by The County Press, Courser offered no comment.

Courser resigned Sept. 11, while Gamrat was expelled by the required two-thirds majority of the House as the result of a scandal over their extramarital affair and a cover-up attempt. A special six-member House disciplinary committee recommended the expulsion of both legislators.

Courser and his wife, Fon, met with Turkelson and a state police investigator for about 45 minutes at the prosecutor’s office during which time Turkelson reviewed contents of the state police investigation with Courser.

The prosecutor’s office will provide a copy of the state police investigation to Courser on Tuesday.

In a statement to the press, Turkelson wrote, “None of the individuals involved in this matter come to the table with clean hands. All bear some responsibility in creating this embarrassing and costly chapter in our county’s history. Under these circumstances I see no benefit in prolonging this saga at the expense of Lapeer County taxpayers in a prosecution that would be tenuous at best. For these reasons I have declined criminal charges in connection with the extortion scandal. It is my hope that by closing this chapter Lapeer County can move forward and focus on more important issues facing our county and state.”

Courser ran in the Nov. 3 primary election in Lapeer County, coming in sixth place among a field of 11 Republicans.

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