Thursday, December 17, 2015

WAR: Howard Says She'll Call Cotter To Testify, Will Subpoena Secret Documents From Speaker's Office

Howard, left, Cotter, right

By Brandon Hall
(Email him at
It looks like the leaders of the Michigan House may regret not settling a lawsuit brought in federal court recently by former Gamrat/Courser staffers Ben Graham and Keith Allard...

In an appearance on last week's "Off The Record," Sarah Howard, attorney for Graham and Allard, put Speaker Cotter on notice, saying she will not only call Cotter to the stand, she will also use the discovery process to uncover important, secret communications between Cotter and his Chief of Staff, Norm Saari, along with anyone else who may have been part of behind the scenes discussions.

The state will attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed, though that is unlikely to be granted. Speaker Cotter is expected to invoke legislative privilege if asked to testify, but the Speaker would have an immensely difficult time keeping Allard and Graham for procuring documents many believed would never see the public eye.

Howard noted on OTR, as she does in the lawsuit, that Cotter knew as early as February that drama was running rampant in the Gamrat/Courser office. Cotter apparently walked in on a meeting between Allard, Graham, and Sarai...

Howard made it clear that her clients adamantly opposed going to court if a settlement could be reached, but the Speaker's office had no interest in taking that route.

Now, as accusations of a twisted cover up grow louder, this controversy takes center stage heading into 2016 with huge potential implications for not only the Speaker and his team, but the Michigan Republican Party all across Pure Michigan.

Stay tuned...

Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at


Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson


  1. As the experience of Courser illustrates, being a true conservative requires more than delivering the right political rhetoric, more even than furthering good conservative legislation. While liberals/democrats celebrate deviant behavior at the highest levels (i.e., that woman), and while I hope the republican leaders have acted above board and honorably, my higher hope is for a straightforward resolution of this whole issue no matter who acted improperly or even illegally. We may then decide to temper justice with mercy, but O and B (obfuscation and bifurcation, not in this case Obama and Biden) have no place in our character.

    1. Mr. Miller,

      Shenanigans are obviously nothing new to politics, especially with what passes for "conservatives" in the Michigan Republican Party.

      One needs to look no further to questionable items which NEVER should have seen the light of day like the Capitol View "contract", Snydercaid(and HICA), the sweetheart deal for Switch, the millions continually allowed to be wasted by MDOT on non-road items and the Detroit Bailout just for starters.

      I can get writer's cramp if I continued...

      But to bottom line everything, the problem goes far deeper than most people realize.

    2. people like me who are outside the loop don't know , obviously, what all that deeper stuff is and appreciate finding the bad news, even when it hurts.

    3. Good for Ms. Howard. Let the chips fall where they may.