McCloskeys Want Prosecutor Removed From Their Case

Ideally, Mark and Patricia McCloskey want charges of evidence tampering and unlawful use of a weapon dropped entirely, but for the moment their attorney is focusing his efforts on getting St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner removed from the prosecution team.

Joel Schwartz argues that Gardner’s efforts have been politically motivated throughout the investigation into the St. Louis attorneys accused of pointing guns at protesters who were trespassing through their private neighborhood, and today he’s asking a judge to agree.

Gardner’s campaign emails, Schwartz has said in court filing, “drew a direct line” from the confrontation outside the McCloskeys’ mansion to “Gardner’s political antagonists, and from there a call for donations to further her reelection efforts.”

Gardner’s office in a court filing has rejected Schwartz’s claim of impropriety and argued the emails were in response to Republican political opponents from Missouri and elsewhere.
“The circuit attorney’s actions throughout this case thus far establish any proper, lawful motive,” her office said in the court filing. “And even the fundraising emails establish her interest was only in pushing back against Republican attacks on her and her prosecutorial authority — which have nothing to do with the defendants.”
I think it’s a given that Gardner’s attacks on the McCloskeys were motivated at least in part by politics. Contrary to what her office says about the fundraising emails, Gardner’s comments had as much to do with the McCloskeys themselves as their high-profile defenders. Here’s a portion of the fundraising email sent out during the primary campaign.

“Because you are a supporter of Kim, I want to make you aware of a few late-breaking developments that are making national headlines right now. You might be familiar with the story of the couple who brandished guns during a peaceful protest outside of their mansion.

Instead of fighting for the millions of Americans affected by the pandemic, including 31,000 Missourians, President Trump and the Governor are fighting for the two who pointed guns at peaceful citizens during the Black Lives Matter protests.”

That’s pretty blatant. Long before a grand jury had returned indictments against the McCloskeys, the prosecutor in charge of the case was raising money off of the attention it had received and portrayed the couple as dangerous individuals.

A decision on Schwartz’s motion to remove Gardner from the prosecution team isn’t expected today, and in the meantime the couple still have Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Governor Brad Parson on their side. Schmitt has sought to intervene in the case and have all charges dropped, while Parson has reiterated his intention to pardon the McCloskeys if they are convicted at trial.

The couple’s attorney says his clients aren’t interested in any pre-trial diversion, though it’s unclear if that has officially been offered to the McCloskeys. Gardner originally stated that she planned to present the option to the couple, but as of a few weeks ago Schwartz told the media that he’d heard nothing more from prosecutors about the potential of taking a plea deal and avoiding prison time.

So, it looks like the McCloskeys will eventually have their day in court. The biggest question at the moment is whether or not Kim Gardner will be in the courtroom when it happens.