St. Louis Couple Charged for Wielding Guns Moves to Disqualify Prosecutor

July 30, 2020 Updated: July 30, 2020

The couple charged with a felony for standing outside their home with firearms moved this week to disqualify St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner after she allegedly referenced the case against the couple in campaign emails.

Gardner, a Democrat, charged the McCloskeys last week with felony unlawful use of a weapon for brandishing firearms as Black Lives Matter protesters congregated near their home.

“It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner at those participating in nonviolent protest,” she said in a statement.

Shortly before and after filing the charges, Gardner’s campaign sent out fundraising emails that referred to the circuit attorney’s attempted prosecution of the couple, attorney Joel Schwartz said in new court filings. Schwartz is representing the McCloskeys, who are lawyers.

Epoch Times Photo
An email said to have been sent to supporters of Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner just before she filed charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey. (Court Filing)

In one email, Gardner’s campaign allegedly referenced comments made by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, who said that President Donald Trump “understands the situation in Missouri, he understands the situation in St. Louis and how out of control it is for a prosecutor to let violent criminals off and to not do their job and try to attack law-abiding citizens.”

Gardner was blamed for the release of dozens of alleged looters and rioters from jail last month.

Her campaign went on to accuse Trump and Parson of playing politics.

“Kim needs your help to fight back! Her election is only weeks away,” the message added, imploring people to “rush a donation” to the campaign.

In the other email that Gardner’s campaign was said to have sent out, the campaign said Gardner’s decision to file charges against the McCloskeys drew lots of national attention, including death threats.

Epoch Times Photo
In a Jan. 13, 2020 file photo, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner speaks in St. Louis. (Jim Salter/AP Photo)

Referencing how Parson spoke of pardoning the couple if they’re convicted, the campaign said: “This is what happens when leaders like Jim stand up against a system that elevates the privileged and powerful.”

The campaign again asked for donations, warning the election was only weeks away.

Schwartz asked the court to disqualify Gardner and her office and replace her with a special prosecutor for the case.

Gardner, via the campaign messages, “linked the criminal proceedings against” his clients “to her financial, political, and personal interests,” the attorney wrote, which would violate state law.

A spokeswoman for Gardner’s office told The Epoch Times that she could not comment because the case is pending.

Earlier this month, Gardner said in a statement through her campaign that she was surprised when Parson called for her removal.

“I will not play politics with any case the way the governor is,” she wrote.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber