Michigan lawmaker: Allegations are ‘character assassination’


State Rep. Steve Marino, R-Harrison Township. (Courtesy Michigan House Republicans)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A southeastern Michigan lawmaker who’s accused of threatening a legislator over their past romantic relationship is denying her allegations.

Republican Rep. Steve Marino issued a statement Thursday after Democratic Rep. Mari Manoogian suggested his removal from two committees stemmed from their “volatile” relationship.

“I will always prioritize the safety of state legislators and those who are serving their community at the state Capitol. Once I learned of this situation, I took immediate action. Going forward, the House is honoring Rep. Manoogian’s request for privacy while others look into the allegations.

“The House will continue to assist with the Michigan State Police investigation, take every precaution to ensure Rep. Manoogian’s safety, and ultimately allow the legal process to play out. We will be able to provide further updates at the appropriate time.”

Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell; Sept. 15, 2021

Manoogian said she was taking steps to ensure her safety following domestic abuse, including threats of public shaming.

“The unfortunate reality is that many people in our society have experienced domestic abuse, which often comes from someone we would never expect. None of us are immune to a volatile relationship, regardless of our career. It can happen right here in our legislature, where abuse of power and threats to ruin a colleague’s reputation, as well as threats of public shaming, can be used to intimidate fellow members of the legislature. I am asking for privacy as I take steps to ensure my safety while I continue to represent my district and do the work of the people.”

State Rep. Mari Manoogian, D-Birmingham; Sept. 15, 2021

Marino says their relationship ended “well over” a year ago.

He said the “insinuations made are nothing more than politically motivated character assassination that I am confident will conclude as a waste of the public’s time.”

“I had a relationship that ended well over a year ago with Representative Amara Manoogian. She served on a committee that I chaired. I regret the fact that I went along with her request to not disclose the prior relationship to the Speaker. However, I will be clear: the insinuations made are nothing more than politically motivated character assassination that I am confident will conclude as a waste of the public’s time. I look forward to fulfilling my duties and maintaining the trust I’ve worked so hard to build during my seven years in public office.”

State Rep. Steve Marino, R-Harrison Township; Sept. 16, 2021

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