Michigan Tea Party Republican Accuses 'Establishment Machine' of Blackmail Plot

Michigan Rep. Todd Courser (R) admits he told a close aide that spreading a false rumor about having sex with a male prostitute in an alley behind a bar would be so shocking that the true story of him having an affair with a fellow state legislator would fly under the radar, or at least seem totally mild by comparison.

But Courser says, in a 27-minute audio recording he released today, that was pure subterfuge. He was not trying to keep the story of his affair with Michigan Rep. Cindy Gamrat (R) from going public as much as he was trying to trick people blackmailing him into revealing themselves and the extent of their operation.

Courser and Gamrat, both freshmen in Michigan’s state House, had a relatively short history of co-sponsoring each other’s favorite legislation that always centered on preserving Christian family values and blasting the possibility of legalizing same-sex marriage.

Courser said he had already come clean to his wife about the affair before the Detroit News exclusive story about the email telling the false story of his meeting with a male prostitute.

“Some marriages are easy, some are hard,” Courser said. “For those of you who have had an easy marriage this will probably make no sense to you.”

Courser claimed the fictitious story about hooking up with a male prostitute was a bid to “agitate the situation” because he didn't know if the blackmailer, who was threatening to expose the affair with Gamrat, was operating from inside or outside his House office.

Courser admitted the attempt to fool the blackmailer was “over the top and wrong.” But he thinks it was also understandable because it was “done in a pressure cooker that put me in a situation where a bad choice was the choice that I made.”

“Listening to the tape I don’t even recognize my own self and can’t say that the tape has not been altered,” Courser said. “I was running on days and weeks with no food. I was simply on auto pilot.”

“It was not my finest moment,” he said.

Courser said the email worked in a way, though. It allowed him, Courser claims, to implicate one of his closest House aides and several close friends and political associates in the blackmail plot.