Lawmaker: Allegations are 'character assassination'

LANSING (AP) — A Michigan lawmaker denied that he threatened or harmed a fellow legislator with whom he had a romantic relationship, dismissing her claims as a “politically motivated character assassination.”

Third-term Rep. Steve Marino, a Republican, issued a statement a day after second-term Democratic Rep. Mari Manoogian said his removal from two committees stemmed from their “volatile” relationship. She said she was taking steps to ensure her safety following domestic abuse, including threats of public shaming.

The 29-year-old Manoogian, of Birmingham, did not specify what Marino allegedly did, nor whether the alleged threats and intimidation were physical, verbal or written.

Marino, a 32-year-old from Macomb County's Harrison Township, said their relationship ended “well over” a year ago. They served together on the House Commerce and Tourism Committee. He chaired the panel until last week, when he was removed by Republican House Speaker Jason Wentworth, who said he prioritizes lawmakers' safety. State police are investigating.

“I regret the fact that I went along with her request to not disclose the prior relationship to the Speaker,” Marino said. "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.”

His lawyer, Mike Rataj, said Manoogian got “bad advice” to go public and it will “backfire.”

“It's unfortunate that my client is being excoriated over vague allegations. There has been no due process whatsoever," he said.


Subscribe to the Legal News!

Full access to public notices, articles, columns, archives, statistics, calendar and more

Day Pass Only $4.95!
One-County $80/year

Three-County & Full Pass also available