For the moment, it’s only Patricia McCloskey who’s had her charges amended, but the special prosecutor who took over the case after St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner was removed by a judge says Mark McCloskey could also be given the same amended charge in the near future.
The McCloskeys were originally facing felony charges of unlawful use of a weapon as well as evidence tampering, but Special Prosecutor Richard Callahan filed a new indictment on Monday adding the charge of misdemeanor harassment to Patricia McCloskey’s case. Callahan says when the case goes to trial in November, jurors will now have the option of convicting McCloskey on either the felony counts or the misdemeanor charge.. as well as the option of finding her and her husband not guilty.
The move essentially gives a jury the option of convicting Patricia McCloskey of the lesser misdemeanor charge if it sees evidence of a crime that doesn’t reach the level of the felony charges.
“While there is still work to do and more witnesses to interview in terms of trial preparation, this substitute information represents my best judgement (sic) as to the options a jury or a judge should be given in light of the totality of the facts and circumstances that can be proven,” Callahan’s statement read. “A similar decision will be made regarding Mark McCloskey in the coming days.”
So why is Callahan doing this? Well, prosecutors like to tout convictions, not acquittals, and I suspect that the special prosecutor is aiming to get a conviction on some charge, even if it’s only a misdemeanor offense. The felony charge of unlawful use of a weapon was a reach when it was first filed by Gardner before she was booted from the case, and the prospects of a jury finding the pair guilty of misdemeanor harassment are much better than a guilty verdict.
I happen to believe that no charges were warranted in the first place, and Kim Garder’s behavior towards the couple was designed to boost her political career and not to advance the cause of justice. The judge in the case also decided that Gardner shouldn’t be a part of the trial after using the couple’s arrest in several fundraising appeals during her re-election campaign, and the St. Louis Circuit Attorney is now also facing more accusations of misconduct over her investigation of former Missouri governor Eric Greitens.
An investigation by the state’s Chief Disciplinary Counsel has found probable cause that St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner committed professional misconduct, after complaints made by the legal team representing former Governor Eric Greitens.
A state website published Tuesday [May 4th] Gardner’s name in relation to a pending disciplinary hearing, that indicates she is the subject of an alleged ethical violation. The Circuit Attorney will likely face a disciplinary panel to weigh the allegations and make a finding. Ultimately punishment would be decided by the Missouri Supreme Court and could range from an admonishment to suspension or revocation of her law license.
Ironically, while Gardner’s political career could take a hit as a result of her conduct towards the McCloskeys and Greitens, both Mark McCloskey and Eric Greitens are hoping to use the accusations of misconduct as fodder for their own political campaigns. Both men are running for the U.S. Senate seat that will be vacated by the retiring Roy Blunt next year, and Gardner’s (allegedly) politically motivated witch hunts against each of them will be by their campaigns to highlight the danger of giving Democrats power and to bolster their bona fides as conservative fighters willing to take on the Left.
As for the McCloskeys’ criminal case, it’s still on track for a November trial, but Missouri Governor Mike Parson has already said he’ll pardon the couple if they’re convicted on any charges. There’s a much better chance that Kim Gardner will lose her license to practice law than Mark McCloskey will end up behind bars over the case she originally filed against him and his wife, and frankly, that would be the most appropriate outcome of the case; disbarment for Gardner and freedom for the St. Louis couple who were just trying to ensure that a rowdy mob didn’t target their home.