'Even Half Retarded, I'm a Jew With My Money,' Michigan GOP Lawmaker Texts

October 27, 2021, 1:36 PM by  Allan Lengel

Steve Marino, 32, and Mari Manoogian, 29

Republican Rep. Steve Marino of Harrison Township texted offensive messages about Asian, Jewish and gay people to a Democratic lawmaker he had a romance with, The Detroit News reports.

In one text, on Aug. 10,  Marino, who is not Jewish and is of Italian descent, jokingly writes to state Rep. Mari Manoogian of Birmingham, that he would offer up her name as a possible sponsor of unpopular film credit legislation. After she complained, he wrote: 

"If you can't capitalize on liberal Hollywood Jews then you have bigger concerns." In an Aug. 11 text, while complaining about money challenges, he wrote "even half retarded, im a Jew with my money."

The roughly 300 pages of texts, exchanged between July and September, were released as part of a public records request for information submitted by Michigan State Police to the Ingham County Prosecutor's Office, which was considering filing charges. The prosecutor's office announced Tuesday that it won't file stalking charges against Marino because the case was not strong enough. Marino and Manoogian had ended a four-month romance in 2019.

Michigan State Police first began investigating possible stalking in September after Manoogian expressed concerns to lawmakers in leadership about texts from Marino.

The texts, according to The News's paywalled article, were sometimes demeaning to Manoogian, other lawmakers and different groups of people. 

Marino's Detroit attorney, Mike Rataj tells Deadline Detroit, that his client voluntarily produced hundreds of pages of the text messages for investigators and he's been cleared of any criminal charges.

"They were private conversations," he said. "Do you honestly think Steven Marino is the only person who has said something off-color in a private conversation? He's not the first and won't be the last."

In one text, Marino tells Manoogian it is his mission to destroy her.  

In one exchange on July 29, Marino writes to Manoogian, "I view my party as stupid and your party as naïve."

"Your party ... on the other hand, ought to know better ...but would follow a Pride Parade over a cliff if the polling said so," Marino writes.

"We are very naïve," Manoogian responded. "both parties are beyond my scope of reality lol."

On Aug. 24, Marino tells Manoogian, who is of Armenian descent, she was like "the dumb white chick" in horror movies who runs toward trouble while the audience urges her not to, The News reports.

"You're very impressionable," he writes. "If you went to the Asian caucus, you'd go chill with the little people."

Read more:  Detroit News

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