LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A former Michigan lawmaker pleaded no contest Wednesday to a misdemeanor stemming from charges filed over a bizarre plot to hide his extramarital affair with another legislator.
Todd Courser, a 47-year-old Republican from Silverwood who resigned from the state House in 2015, could face up to a year in jail when he is sentenced on Sept. 16 in a Lapeer courtroom for willful neglect of duty by a public officer.
The charge was reduced from misconduct in office , a felony. The state attorney general's office also will dismiss a pending perjury charge in Lansing. Other charges against Courser had been dropped by an Ingham County judge in 2016.
"Today's decision by Todd Courser to plead no contest to a one-year misdemeanor may be the wisest decision he has made in years," Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a written statement. "This case has had a long, torturous history and his decision to acknowledge responsibility for his actions is long overdue."
Courser's attorney, Matthew DePerno, said Nessel did not summarize the entire agreement and her statement is "factually flawed. But she was fast to issue that press release, right? I have no other comment until the sentencing date."
An aide for Courser and former Rep. Cindy Gamrat testified during a 2016 probable cause hearing that Courser asked him to send an outlandishly bogus, sexually explicit email to thousands of fellow Republicans as a trick so his extramarital affair with Gamrat - a fellow married, freshman tea party conservative - would not be believed if it was revealed by an anonymous extortionist. The extortionist turned out to be Gamrat's then-husband, according to a state police probe.
The judge ruled then that there was not enough evidence for Gamrat, who was expelled from office, to face charges. The cases were initially brought by former Attorney General Bill Schuette.