Inside Michigan State Representative's Attempt to Cover-Up Secret Affair With a Fake Sex Scandal

Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser were Tea Party darlings from conservative districts when they were elected to the Michigan State House of Representatives in November 2014. PlayCourtesy of Todd Courser
WATCH Michigan State Reps Rumored to Be Having an Affair: Part 1

A salacious, accusatory email and a covertly-obtained audio recording on a cell phone resulted in the downfall of two Michigan State Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, elected into the Michigan House of Representatives in November 2014, ultimately lost their seats and subsequent re-election campaigns due to their romantic extramarital affair and attempted cover-up.

In the midst of their affair, Courser said he began receiving 'blackmail texts,' threatening to come forward with information about his relationship with Gamrat unless he resigned as Representative.

He then asked his house aide Ben Graham to send out an anonymous email accusing him of drug-use and 'male on male sex.'

Instead, Graham recorded the conversation and gave it to Detroit News reporter Chad Livengood.

Both Gamrat and Courser, ex-staffers Keith Allard and Ben Graham and reporter Chad Livengood sat down for an interview with ABC News "20/20.”

Below is a timeline of the key events from the affair.

Nov. 4, 2014

Cindy Gamrat officially began her term as Michigan State Representative on Jan. 2, 2015.Courtesy of Cindy Gamrat
Cindy Gamrat officially began her term as Michigan State Representative on Jan. 2, 2015.

Gamrat, a homemaker from Plainwell, Michigan, gets 63 percent of the vote in the 80th district, and Courser, a lawyer from Lapeer County, Michigan, gets 55 percent of the vote in the 82nd district to win their respective elections for Michigan State Representative.

At the time they entered office, both Courser and Gamrat were married. He has four children and she has three.

Jan. 2, 2015

Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser were Tea Party darlings from conservative districts when they were elected to the Michigan State House of Representatives in November 2014. Courtesy of Todd Courser
Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser were Tea Party darlings from conservative districts when they were elected to the Michigan State House of Representatives in November 2014.

Courser and Gamrat officially begin their terms as Michigan State Representatives. Ben Graham, a long-time friend of Courser, starts his employment at the House of Representatives, along with Joshua Cline and Keith Allard. Courser and Gamrat decide to share these staffers and combine their offices.

Jan. 20, 2015

Cindy Gamrat, a homemaker from Allegan, Michigan, took 63 percent of the vote in the 80th district.Courtesy of Cindy Gamrat
Cindy Gamrat, a homemaker from Allegan, Michigan, took 63 percent of the vote in the 80th district.

Courser and Gamrat begin to clash with their Republican Party. They both hit the ground running, issuing the "Liberty Response”—a more-than-1200 word response to Governor Rick Snyder's State of the State Address. The report, riddled with deep expressions of faith, ultimately widened the divide between the two State Representatives and the Republican leadership.

April 14, 2015

PHOTO: Todd Courser, a lawyer from Lapeer, took 55 percent of the vote in the 82nd district to win the election for Michigan State Representative. Courtesy of Todd Courser
Todd Courser, a lawyer from Lapeer, took 55 percent of the vote in the 82nd district to win the election for Michigan State Representative.

As relationships between Courser and Gamrat and their staffers worsened over several months, staffer Josh Cline resigns.

May 19, 2015

Courser asks Ben Graham to "destroy" him by sending an email accusing Courser of using drugs and alcohol and engaging in gay sex. Rather than fulfill Courser's request, Graham secretly records the conversation on his phone.

May 20, 2015

Courser sends the email himself from an anonymous email account.

July 6, 2015

Keith Allard (left) was Cindy Gamrat’s chief of staff, and Ben Graham (right) was Todd Coursers aide.ABC News
Keith Allard (left) was Cindy Gamrat’s chief of staff, and Ben Graham (right) was Todd Courser's aide.

Keith Allard and Ben Graham are fired.

Aug. 7, 2015

Detroit News reporter Chad Livengood met with Ben Graham and Keith Allard about Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.ABC News
Detroit News reporter Chad Livengood met with Ben Graham and Keith Allard about Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.

Detroit News Reporter Chad Livengood publishes an article and releases the audio recording Ben Graham gave him, proving Courser asked Ben to send out the email received weeks earlier. Then, House Speaker Kevin Cotter orders an investigation into whether any house rules were broken.

The state remains divided with some saying they are praying for Courser and some calling for his resignation.

Aug. 10, 2015

Courser speaks out, admitting to being in the recording and sending the email himself. He says he did all of this because he was being blackmailed for his affair with Gamrat.

Aug. 11, 2015

Courser posts screenshots of text messages on Facebook from someone he says was blackmailing him. He believes his former staffers -- Graham, Cline, and Allard -- worked against him.

Aug. 13, 2015

Courser's brother Dan Courser claims he was also blackmailed and releases text messages he received.

Aug. 14, 2015

Gamrat holds a press conference in East Lansing, Michigan. She admits to and apologizes for the affair with Courser, but says she was unaware of Courser's plan to send the email.

Aug. 17, 2015

Former state house aide Cline holds a press conference and speaks about Courser and Gamrat's affair and his experience as their staffer.

Aug. 18, 2015

PHOTO: Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser combined staffs and worked out of the same office.Courtesy of Todd Courser
Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser combined staffs and worked out of the same office.

Courser and Gamrat return to work at the state house in Lansing, but many call for their resignations.

Sept. 11, 2015

Courser steps down as State Representative. The house voted 91-12 to expel Gamrat, making her only the fourth lawmaker to be expelled in Michigan history.

Sept. 17, 2015

Gamrat files with Allegan County clerk to announce her intent to rerun for her seat in the special election.

Sept. 18. 2015

Courser announces he will run in the special election in November and try to regain his old seat.

Nov. 3, 2015

Courser and Gamrat spend Election Day with ABC News and both lose re-election. Courser, gaining less than 3 percent of the votes, loses to Gary Howell, a US Army Veteran and longtime farmer. Gamrat, garnering 9.3 percent of votes, loses to Mary Whitford.

Nov. 13, 2015

The state police report revealed Joe Gamrat was obsessed with tracking his wife, Cindy Gamrat, spying on her for months and planting surveillance devices in her bag and her car. Courtesy of Cindy Gamrat
The state police report revealed Joe Gamrat was obsessed with tracking his wife, Cindy Gamrat, spying on her for months and planting surveillance devices in her bag and her car.

After a months-long investigation, Lapeer County Prosecutor Tim Turkelson decides not to proceed with any charges following Courser's extortion claim. Turkelson says in a statement that Joe Gamrat, husband of Gamrat, "was motivated to end the ongoing affair between his wife and Todd Courser." Joe Gamrat denied the allegations in the state police report. He declined to talk to "20/20," saying he wanted to put the whole matter behind him.

Friday, Jan. 22, 2016

Courser, Gamrat and their ex-aides sit down for an interview with ABC News "20/20."