A St. Louis, Missouri, attorney has been barred from prosecuting Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who were charged after they were seen on video warding off rioters with guns outside their luxury home in June during nationwide unrest.
Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner was accused of having “initiated a criminal prosecution for political purposes” after it was found that she had circulated two fundraising emails about the case to aid her re-election bid, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The McCloskey legal team argued that Gardner circulated one such email weeks ahead of the Democratic primary in August, the local outlet reported.
“Like a needle pulling thread, she links the defendant and his conduct to her critics,” wrote Judge Thomas Clark II, who determined the city attorney was unfit to prosecute the case, in a ruling reported by the Post-Dispatch. “These emails are tailored to use the June 28 incident to solicit money by positioning her against the defendant and her more vocal critics.”
Clark’s disqualification applies only to Mark McCloskey’s charges, but Gardner’s office as a whole is forbidden from taking up the case, the local outlet reported. Patricia McCloskey’s trial has been transferred to another circuit attorney, but the city will need to find another prosecutor for her husband, according to the Post-Dispatch.
In a video posted to social media, peaceful protesters in St. Louis calling for police reforms walked past a couple brandishing firearms as they were ordered to stay away from the couple’s home https://t.co/bYl06iAiTo pic.twitter.com/wOZ1Wr3yac
— Reuters (@Reuters) June 29, 2020
“This is what we wanted,” the couple’s defense lawyer Joel Schwartz said, according to the local outlet. “We would like a fair-minded prosecutor to take a look at the alleged crimes and reassess the evidence and see what they come up with because we don’t believe any of the evidence supports any of the charges. … As long as that happens, then I think we’ll have the right outcome and that would hopefully be no charges.”
The pair pleaded not guilty in October after city authorities charged them with unlawful use of weapon and evidence tampering, the Post-Dispatch reported. The McCloskey’s later faced a brandishing offense, according to the local outlet.
Law enforcement executed a search warrant in July and seized the AR-15 Mark McCloskey allegedly used to protect his St. Louis mansion, according to 5 On Your Side. (RELATED: ‘Unprecedented’: Missouri Lawyer Says Political Posturing Is To Blame For St. Louis Couple’s Gun Seizure)
“[They said] that they were going to kill us,” Patricia McCloskey told Fox News in July about the demonstrators around her home. “They were going to come in there. They were going to burn down the house.”
“They were going to be living in our house after I was dead, and they were pointing to different rooms and said, ‘That’s going to be my bedroom and that’s going to be the living room and I’m going to be taking a shower in that room,” she continued.
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