Ingham County prosecutor won't charge Rep. Marino after alleged text threats

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Lansing — The Ingham County Prosecutor's Office will not prosecute Harrison Township Republican Rep. Steve Marino after an investigation into allegations from a fellow lawmaker who said Marino sent her threatening text messages following their breakup. 

An initial investigative report by Michigan State Police was submitted to Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon's office in late September. 

The chief of the county's sexual assault/domestic violence unit reviewed the report and denied prosecution in a decision that should be logged into the county's record system later Monday, said Scott Hughes, a spokesman for Siemon's office.

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.

The case is considered closed until or unless additional information or evidence is submitted, Hughes said.

The prosecutor's office did not immediately disclose its reasons for denying prosecution. 

Michigan State Police began investigating allegations against Marino earlier this month after Birmingham Democratic Rep. Mari Manoogian told House leadership that the 31-year-old Harrison Township Republican had sent her threatening texts. Marino was removed from his committee assignments, and the incident was reported to state police.

Manoogian, a 29-year-old Birmingham Democrat, obtained a personal protection order against Marino shortly after reporting the incident to state police. Marino has not been on the House floor since and now needs an escort if he wishes to enter the House floor or the House Office Building. 

Marino has said the allegations against him amount to "character assassination." 

In her PPO petition, Manoogian told a judge that the couple had dated for about four months in late 2019. She said Marino began acting threateningly toward her in early 2020. 

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

She also attached screenshots of text messages to the PPO request in which Marino said he hoped Manoogian's car exploded on the way into Lansing and the he would make it his "life mission to destroy" Manoogian. In another text, Marino said that she should "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. 

Marino's lawyer has said the text messages were taken out of context.