Michigan House: Rep. Marino can attend session despite Rep. Manoogian's PPO

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Lansing — A House lawmaker who is the subject of a personal protection order and Michigan State Police investigation will be allowed on the House floor even though the order prevents him from occupying the same property as his accuser, Rep. Mari Manoogian. 

Republican state Rep. Steve Marino, a 31-year-old Republican from Harrison Township, will be allowed to enter the Capitol for caucus and vote during session, said Gideon D'Assandro, a spokesman for House Speaker Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell.

Marino also will be allowed to enter the House Office Building to gain access to his office, D'Assandro said. The lawmaker must notify House sergeants when he intends to attend House session or visit his office and will receive an escort from House sergeants to those locations to prevent contact between Marino and Manoogian, D'Assandro added. 

"This is the reading of the human resources (officials) and attorneys on what is allowed and what isn't," he said.

Marino was removed from his committee assignments last week after allegations arose that he threatened Manoogian, a 29-year-old Birmingham Democrat, with whom he had a previous relationship.

Marino did not attend session Tuesday by his own choice, D'Assando said. 

Manoogian secured a personal protection order against Marino last week that included prohibitions about the two occupying the same property. 

House leadership, lawyers and sergeants were reviewing the order up until Tuesday morning, when D'Assandro clarified the policy. The House and Senate are expected to vote this week on the state budget. 

Marino, a third-term lawmaker who had a relationship with Manoogian in late 2019, texted the Birmingham lawmaker to say he would make it his "life mission to destroy" her and that he hoped her "car explodes on the way in" to session, according to screenshots contained in Manoogian's PPO petition. 

It's not clear from the screenshots in the court filing when the texts were written. 

In a separate screenshot, Marino told Manoogian to "hide on the House Floor."

"... because I'm going to park right next to your desk and ream you a new ---hole each session day until I leave that place," he wrote, according to the screenshot. 

Manoogian responded, "I just woke up. What." 

Marino wrote back: "There should be a Citizen's Guide to State Government on your desk...courtesy of my office."

Marino's lawyer, Mike Rataj, has said the texts contained in the PPO were "so out of context" and that he would move to set aside the order. Marino has said the allegations against him were a "character assassination."

State Rep. Steve Marino, R-Harrison Township, was removed from his committee assignments after state Rep. Mari Manoogian, D-Birmingham, accused him of sending threatening text messages.

In her PPO petition, Manoogian said Marino "emotionally and verbally abused me relentlessly" following their late 2019 break-up. 

"Face to face and over text, Steve began threatening me and harassing me," Manoogian wrote in her PPO petition. "It has escalated to a point where I fear for my safety and for Steve's own safety."

Michigan State Police confirmed last week that the agency was investigating allegations against Marino.