Rep. Steve Marino, R-Harrison Township, wants a judge to toss out a personal protection order that bars him from contacting or being near Rep. Mari Manoogian, D-Birmingham.
The 32-year-old state legislator got the Ingham County court order in September after what she called a "volatile relationship" with the 29-year-old and "threats" by him. The Republican House speaker took away Marino's committee assignments after Manoogian showed him some alarming texts. In addition, a security escort accompanies him on the House floor.
Marino's lawyer, Mike Rataj of Detroit, now asks that the protection order be lifted because the messages were "far removed from any potential violence" and were protected as free speech, according to The Detroit News.
The texts were "certainly discourteous on both their parts" over the years, the motion said, but didn't meet the standard needed to show the commissioning "of an unlawful act of violence."
"Calling someone names, however crude, does not translate into imminent lawless action, and Mr. Marino's intent was not to induce anybody, including himself, to violate the law," the motion said. ... Lastly, Rataj argued that the state's separation of powers prevents the judicial branch from restricting actions in the legislative branch.
... In the texts, Marino said he would make it his "life mission to destroy" Manoogian, said he hoped Manoogian's "car explodes on the way in" and warned her to "hide on the House floor."
Judge Lisa McCormick of the county court in Mason, near Lansing, is expected to hold a hearing this week on Marino's request, The News says.