Mark McCloskey just got a huge win in court when a judge agreed with his motion and dismissed Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner from his case.
Circuit Judge Thomas Clark II cited two campaign fundraising emails Gardner sent out when she was running for re-election and around the same time Gardner filed felony gun charges against the couple in July. She did mention the couple in her appeals for cash.
“In short, the Circuit Attorney’s conduct raises the appearance that she initiated a criminal prosecution for political purposes,” Clark wrote.
“Prosecutors are held to a higher standard legally, ethically and politically,” Al Watkins, an attorney for the couple. “When you swing and miss on all three you have to hit the lockers.”
The McCloskey’s had previously filed a motion to remove Gardner from the case and did in fact cite these same fundraising emails.
Gardner’s office said in a statement that it will “review the court order and determine our options.” The statement said the office was not notified of the decision but learned of it from media reports.
The order will mean that a special prosecutor will be assigned. It’s unclear when that will occur, or who it will be.
The McCloskeys, who are both attorneys in their early 60s, were indicted by a St. Louis grand jury in October on charges of unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with evidence. Their next court appearance was scheduled for January.
Gardner originally filed the weapons charge in July. The grand jury added the evidence tampering charge. The indictment states that a semiautomatic pistol was altered in a way that “obstructed the prosecution of Patricia McCloskey” on the weapons charge.
Another attorney for the McCloskeys, Joel Schwartz, sought Gardner’s removal, citing ads in her successful Democratic primary campaign in August in which she referenced the case. Gardner, St. Louis’ first Black circuit attorney, won reelection in November.
The McCloskeys were celebrated in conservative circles but criticized by others for the incident that happened amid nationwide protests that followed George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. They spoke on video during the Republican National Convention and garnered support from President Donald Trump and other leading Republicans. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson vowed to pardon them if they are convicted.
“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.”
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 million-dollar mansion. The couple said the demonstrators broke down an iron gate and ignored a “No Trespassing” sign.
Statement from Circuit Attorney Office, City of St. Louis
Today the media reported on a judge’s ruling on the Mark McCloskey case prior to any official notification. We will review the court order and determine our options. pic.twitter.com/drVK9EjJI1
— Circuit Attorney (@stlcao) December 10, 2020