St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has yet to file charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey over the couple’s display of firearms as protesters marched through their private neighborhood nearly one month ago, but Missouri Gov. Brad Parson says any successful prosecution of the pair may be mooted by a pardon issued by his office.
Speaking to St. Louis talk show host Marc Cox, Parson was asked about the possibility of coming to the defense of the McCloskeys if necessary.
“I think that’s exactly what would happen,” Parson said. He later added that based on what he knows about the case, “I don’t think they’re going to spend any time in jail.”
Parson on Saturday retweeted a link to the interview on his personal Twitter page. An email message left with his spokeswoman was not immediately returned.
It’s an interesting twist in the saga of the St. Louis attorneys, but I’m not sure that Parson’s comments make it any less likely that Gardner will bring criminal charges against the couple. Remember, Gardner is up for re-election this year, and faces an August primary against several of her fellow Democrats, and backing down in the face of opposition by the likes of President Donald Trump, Parsons, and Missouri senator Josh Hawley wouldn’t exactly endear Gardner to her far-left base.
It’s also important to note that Parsons did tell Cox that his current thinking on a pardon is based on the facts as he knows them at the moment, telling Cox, “You don’t know until you hear all the facts.”
‘But right now, if this is all about going after them for doing a lawful act, then yeah, if that’s scenario ever happened, I don’t think they’re going to spend any time in jail.’
‘I don’t think they’re going to spend any time in jail.’
He continued: ‘A mob does not have the right to charge your property. They had every right to protect themselves.’
The Republican governor later took to Twitter to add: ‘We will not allow law-abiding citizens to be targeted for exercising their constitutional rights.’
If Gardner is going to bring a case against the McCloskeys, I’d expect charges to be filed in the very near future. It’s been more than a week since a search warrant was served at the couple’s home and their firearms were seized by St. Louis police, and nearly a month has passed since the incident took place. Gardner can take as much time as the statute of limitations provides, of course, but every day that goes by without formal charges just makes the investigation into the pair appear that much more political, instead of based on the true interests of justice. Since there’s still more political upside for Gardner to file charges than to drop the issue, I think the most likely scenario is that the pair end up facing a charge of unlawful use of a weapon, though I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Gardner offers the McCloskeys a plea bargain that would keep them out of jail long before the case ever gets to a trial.