Soros-backed St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner loses bid to stay on McCloskey case

by Carly Roman, Associate News Editor | WASHINGTON EXAMINER

The Missouri Supreme Court upheld a ruling from a circuit court judge removing St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner from the case against Mark and Patricia McCloskey, a couple who made national headlines after they brandished weapons at protesters outside of their home in a gated St. Louis neighborhood.

The decision was made following an appeal by Gardner, whose 2016 campaign was bankrolled by left-wing billionaire George Soros as part of an effort to place Democrats opposed to “tough on crime” policies in top law enforcement jobs, that was rejected by the Missouri Eastern District Court of Appeals.

The prosecutor was disqualified from the case by Judge Thomas Clark after counsel for the McCloskeys argued Gardner’s fundraising emails saying former President Donald Trump and Gov. Mike Parson were “fighting for the two who pointed guns at citizens during the Black Lives Matter protests” amounted to a personal interest in the case that would jeopardize a fair trial.

Richard Callahan, who served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri under former President Barack Obama, will now serve as the special prosecutor in the case.

“This is what we expected based on the careful, thoughtful ruling from Judge Tom Clark,” Joel Schwartz, attorney for the McCloskeys, said according to KSDK, a local NBC affiliate.

In response to the motion to remove her from the case, Gardner argued that “not a single word in either campaign email [indicates] whether she would prosecute the defendants and how she might pursue an outcome in that case,” claiming the emails were intended to “fight back against the unprecedented level of verbal attacks from prominent Republicans and right-wing media.”

Gardner said last month she received death threats as a result of her involvement with the case. “I was sent emails that said I should be hung up by a tree by the KKK,” Gardner told CBS News’s 60 Minutes before reading some of the other hate mail she received.

The McCloskeys attracted national attention last summer, when they were captured on video brandishing firearms while confronting protesters in front of their St. Louis mansion. The couple was charged with unlawful use of a weapon in addition to evidence tampering. The couple pleaded not guilty to the felony charges.

Conservatives largely rallied around the McCloskeys, and Parson signaled he would pardon them if they were convicted.

“I don’t think they’re going to spend any time in jail,” he said last July.

The city of St. Louis, which recently revamped its criminal justice system, saw the highest murder rate at the end of 2019 than any year since 1970.

Gardner, a former state representative, became the circuit attorney for St. Louis at the beginning of 2017.

The McCloskeys are expected to make a court appearance before Judge David Mason on April 30.

Representatives for the Missouri Supreme Court, Gardner, and Schwartz did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner’s requests for comment.

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