St. Louis circuit attorney off McCloskey gun case after using it for fundraising, judge rules

St. Louis circuit attorney off McCloskey gun case after using it for fundraising, judge rules

McCloskeys join ‘Hannity’ to react to indictment

Mark and Patricia McCloskey join ‘Hannity’ after grand jury indicts them on gun charges.

The circuit attorney for the city of St. Louis has been disqualified from prosecuting Mark and Patricia McCloskey, a local couple facing felony charges after defending their home with weapons when protesters marched through their neighborhood in June, according to reports.

The content of some campaign fundraising emails by Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner infringed on the McCloskeys’ right to receive a fair trial, Circuit Judge Thomas Clark II ruled Thursday, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Gardner’s emails suggested that by charging the McCloskeys in July, she appeared to have “initiated a criminal prosecution for political purposes,” the judge wrote, according to the newspaper.

“Like a needle pulling thread, she links the defendant and his conduct to her critics,” Clark wrote. “These emails are tailored to use the June 28 incident to solicit money by positioning her against defendant and her more vocal critics.”

The McCloskeys were indicted in October on felony charges of unlawful use of weapons and tampering with physical evidence stemming from the June incident. They have pleaded not guilty.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner speaks in St. Louis, Jan. 13, 2020. (Associated Press)

Images of the McCloskeys, with Mark holding a rifle and Patricia holding a handgun, were seen nationwide this past summer as the couple became symbols of ordinary Americans trying to defend themselves and their property against a wave of rioting and other violence in cities across the U.S. in reaction to the May 25 death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.

The McCloskeys later participated in the Republican National Convention in August, where they warned Americans about a possible takeover of the nation by “radical Democrats” who appeared to place the rights of criminals ahead of the rights of law-abiding citizens.

Following Thursday’s ruling, Gardner spokeswoman Allison Hawk said the Circuit Attorney’s Office “will review the court order and determine our options.”

Mark and Patricia McCloskey drawing their firearms on the crowd marching toward St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home in June. (Reuters)

The ruling was a win for the McCloskeys after they requested Gardner’s removal from the case in October, citing the fundraising emails.

It was not clear what the next step would be in the McCloskey case. If a special prosecutor is assigned to the case in place of Gardner, that person could decide to dismiss the charges against the McCloskeys, FOX 2 reported.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, has already stated he would pardon the McCloskeys if they are ultimately convicted.

Gardner, a Democrat and the first Black circuit attorney in the city’s history, won reelection Nov. 3, soundly defeating Republican challenger Daniel Zdrodowski, KMOX Radio of St. Louis reported.

The circuit attorney previously served in the Missouri House of Representatives.

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