August 03, 2020
By Mark Chesnut
The revelation last week that George Soros-backed St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner had used the self-defense case of Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who defended their home in a private neighborhood from an unruly group of protesters, in a fund-raising effort has some involved in the case up in arms.
According to court records, the fundraising email to Gardner supporters read, “You might be familiar with the story of the couple who brandished guns during a peaceful protest outside their mansion. In the last 24 hours, there has been a lot of national attention surrounding Kim’s decision to press charges against a couple that brandished guns at a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest.” The email then prompted supporters to “rush a donation today” to signal their support for her in the case.
Joel Schwartz, attorney for the couple, wrote in a court motion Wednesday that Gardner was out of line for using the case in a fundraising effort and should immediately be disqualified from the case.
“Ms. Gardner, via her campaign mailers, linked the criminal proceedings against [the McCloskeys] to her personal, financial and political interests,” Schwartz wrote in the motion. “The standard for disqualification of a prosecutor is the same as that for a judge. A prosecutor (and a prosecutor’s office as a whole when appropriate), should be disqualified where a reasonable person would have factual grounds to find an appearance of impropriety.”
Schwarz further wrote, “Here, a reasonable person with access to all the facts would find that there was at least the appearance of impropriety, in that Ms. Gardner’s decision may have been affected by her personal, political, financial and professional interests, and that her neutrality, judgment and ability to administer the law in an objective manner may have been compromised.”
Interestingly, Gardner’s campaign received a donation of more than $100,000 from anti-gun billionaire George Soros just last month. Soros, through the front group Missouri Justice and Public Safety PAC, gave $116,000 to Gardner’s campaign, of which $104,393 had already been spent as of Aug. 1, according to a report in the Washington Examiner.
Firearms News readers likely remember the incident on June 28 when Mark Closkey and his wife Patricia, both St. Louis attorneys, stood their ground with a pistol and AR-15 against a mob making threats as they passed by the couple’s home in a private, gated neighborhood. Mark McCloskey said the next day that some of the protestors had threatened him, his home, his family and even the family dog. On July 20, Gardner filed felony weapons charges against the couple.
Despite Gardner’s insistence from the very beginning—even before all the facts were known—that the couple committed a crime, Missouri has very strong Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine self-defense laws that protect Missourians who use firearms to protect themselves and their property.
We’ll keep you posted as this increasingly bizarre situation continues to unfold.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.