Courser describes week’s turmoil in online confessional

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — Embattled state Rep. Todd Courser on Saturday called himself “the poster boy” for people who claim “Christians are hypocrites” in a lengthy Facebook post laying out the humility he’s faced over revelations of his relationship with Rep. Cindy Gamrat.

In the 1,894-word online confessional, Courser said the weeklong news reports about his relationship with Gamrat have been “nothing short of a massive earthquake for me and my family.”

“Thru this a series of common themes have emerged and many will take days weeks months and generations to see the full fruit of, but one that is clear is that I am now the poster boy for those who would say ‘God is dead,’ or ‘Christians are failures,’ or ‘Christians are hypocrites,’ ” Courser wrote on his public Facebook page. “Instantly I have been shown to be a hypocrite in my life, a liar, a laughable joke; much if not all of that is presently justified.”

Courser, R-Lapeer, and Gamrat have been engulfed by intense news coverage of their relationship since The Detroit News first reported Aug. 7 that Courser concocted a fake email smearing himself in an effort to create sympathy when details of his and Gamrat’s relationship became public.

Audio recordings made by a former Courser aide caught the lawmaker on tape reading aloud portions of the email, which claimed Courser had been caught having sex with a male prostitute behind a Lansing nightclub. The email was sent anonymously to Republicans and the media on May 20 and 21.

Both freshmen Republican lawmakers are married and have publicly asked for forgiveness for what Gamrat called Friday a “personal indiscretion.”

Courser’s Facebook post Saturday quoting Bible scripture and reflecting on “my failures” and the “public humiliation” he and his family have endured was a marked change in tone from the scattershot accusations Courser has been lobbing all week at political enemies and former aides who helped exposed the email scheme and relationship with Gamrat.

On Monday, Courser released a rambling 27-minute audio recording and claimed the former aides for him and Gamrat were part of a “blackmail” ring coordinated by the “Lansing mafia” in the establishment wing of the Republican Party. The three former aides have denied any wrongdoing.

Gamrat held a press conference Friday in East Lansing to publicly apologize for her “indiscretion.” Both Courser and Gamrat have resisted calls to resign from office, less than eight months after arriving to Lansing.

The House Business Office is investigating whether Courser and Gamrat involved their shared staff in their personal lives and misused taxpayer resources in doing so.

On Saturday, Courser said he deserves criticism for being so public about his Christian faith and “my actions,” without elaborating.

“I deserve all of it and every word of anger and hostility. It is mystifying to be in the middle of this hurricane and to be totally here and be present and feel the full fury of so much condemnation,” Courser wrote. “It seems to have brought out the best in some and the most vile in others; so many words of encouragement and yet so many people who revel in piling on and watching another burn alive.”

Courser described the personal pain he has endured over the past week, writing that “death will be a much richer reward, a much easier mantle, than having to share all of this, my wife and I have been dealing with this privately and unfortunately some just couldn’t allow it to remain private for our family to deal with.”

On Aug. 3, a Detroit News reporter visited Courser at his Lapeer law office seeking comment about his role in sending out the fictional email. Courser declined to answer questions and has not returned multiple phone calls and messages from The News since Aug. 3.

Courser used the Facebook post to make a public plea for people to not send private messages to his wife and family.

“... It is my cross to carry. My wife and children do not in any way deserve it,” Courser wrote. “They have not brought any of this on themselves; so if you will, please remember that and if you have need to be making hostile comments please direct them at me and not privately or publicly at my family.”

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