St Louis prosecutor is struck off part of McCloskey case

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The St Louis chief prosecutor has been struck off part of the case against the gun-toting McCloskeys after using the infamous episode for campaign fundraising.  

Circuit attorney Kim Gardner, a Democrat, filed felony gun charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey in June after they pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters near their home in Missouri. 

Gardner, who was accused of political bias by Republicans for a prosecution which was criticized by Donald Trump, sent two fundraising emails referring to the case around the time she filed the charges. 

As a result, circuit judge Thomas Clark II dismissed her from the case against Mr McCloskey on Thursday, and defense lawyers will ask for the same thing to happen in Mrs McCloskey’s case. 

‘In short, the Circuit Attorney’s conduct raises the appearance that she initiated a criminal prosecution for political purposes,’ Clark wrote. 

Mark and Patricia McCloskey point their firearms during their infamous encounter with protesters in Missouri last summer 

St Louis circuit attorney Kim Gardner, pictured, was dismissed from Mark McCloskey's case and defense lawyers will ask for the same thing to happen in Patricia McCloskey's case

St Louis circuit attorney Kim Gardner, pictured, was dismissed from Mark McCloskey’s case and defense lawyers will ask for the same thing to happen in Patricia McCloskey’s case 

The judge’s order means that a special prosecutor will be assigned, although it was not clear when that would happen or who it would be.   

‘Prosecutors are held to a higher standard legally, ethically and politically,’ said Al Watkins, an attorney for the couple. ‘When you swing and miss on all three you have to hit the lockers.’

Gardner’s office said in a statement that it will ‘review the court order and determine our options.’ 

The statement said that Gardner’s office was not notified of the decision by the court but learned about it from media reports.

The McCloskeys, who are both attorneys in their early 60s, were indicted by a grand jury in October on the charges of unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with evidence. 

They pleaded not guilty to all charges. Their next court appearance was scheduled for January.

Gardner originally filed the weapons charge in July, while the grand jury added the evidence tampering charge. 

The indictment claims that a semi-automatic pistol was altered in a way that ‘obstructed the prosecution of Patricia McCloskey’ on the weapons charge.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey spoke from St Louis on the first night of the Republican National Convention in August

Mark and Patricia McCloskey spoke from St Louis on the first night of the Republican National Convention in August 

Another attorney for the McCloskeys, Joel Schwartz, had sought Gardner’s removal –  citing ads in her re-election campaign in which she referred to the case. 

‘Kim needs your help to fight back!’ one of her campaign emails read, noting she was under ‘national scrutiny from our divisive President, the Republican establishment of Missouri, and the right-wing media, including Fox News.’ 

Gardner, the city’s first black circuit attorney, won re-election in November.

The McCloskeys were celebrated in conservative circles but criticized by others for the confrontation which came amid the nationwide George Floyd protests. 

The incident happened when a few hundred people were marching to the home of mayor Lyda Krewson on June 28. 

En route, they ventured onto the private street that is home to the McCloskey’s mansion. The couple said the demonstrators broke down an iron gate and ignored a ‘No Trespassing’ sign. 

President Donald Trump, pictured, was among the Republicans who criticized the prosecution of the McCloskeys

President Donald Trump, pictured, was among the Republicans who criticized the prosecution of the McCloskeys 

Protest leaders said they did not damage the gate and that the march was peaceful. 

But the McCloskeys said they felt threatened, and Mark McCloskey emerged from his home armed with an AR-15 rifle, while Patricia McCloskey came out with a semiautomatic handgun. 

Gardner said the display of guns risked bloodshed, while a police probable cause statement said protesters feared ‘being injured due to Patricia McCloskey’s finger being on the trigger, coupled with her excited demeanor.’ 

Cellphone video captured the tense confrontation between the McCloskeys and the protesters. 

The McCloskeys later spoke on video during the Republican National Convention and garnered support from Trump and other leading Republicans. 

Missouri governor Mike Parson has previously vowed to pardon the couple if they are convicted. 



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