A new investigation claims that St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who decided to charge Mark and Patricia McCloskey with felony unlawful use of a weapon when they defended their home from protesters, did not disclose trips she took as required by law.
“Sources tell News 4 that some of the trips were paid for in full, or in part, by an organization called Fair and Just Prosecution, a group that professes to support progressive prosecutors,” KMOV reported. “The organization has repeatedly applauded many of Gardner’s actions, including the charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey for brandishing guns in the Central West End last month.”
When she charged the McCloskeys, Gardner stated, “It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner at those participating in nonviolent protest, and while we are fortunate this situation did not escalate into deadly force, this type of conduct is unacceptable in St. Louis.”
“Republicans have stood up for the McCloskeys as Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) sent a letter to United States Attorney General William Barr urging him to action against Gardner,” The Daily Wire reported. “Twelve Republican members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Barr, in which they specifically named the McCloskeys, demanding that he take ‘decisive action’ to protect Americans from ‘mob rule.’ Missouri Republican Governor Mike Parsons signaled last week that he would likely pardon the McCloskeys if they were charged.”
That prompted Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt to file a brief that would dismiss the charges. The brief stated that Schmitt “respectfully requests that the Court dismiss this case at the earliest possible opportunity.”
“The right to keep and bear arms is given the highest level of protection in our constitution and our laws, including the Castle Doctrine, which provides broad rights to Missourians who are protecting their property and lives from those who wish to do them harm,” Schmitt told Fox News, adding, “Despite this, Circuit Attorney Gardner filed suit against the McCloskeys, who, according to published reports, were defending their property and safety. As Missouri’s Chief law enforcement officer, I won’t stand by while Missouri law is being ignored.”
“Social media snaps show Gardner posing for pictures in Portugal, listening to conversations in New Haven, Connecticut, smiling with other prosecutors in Houston and linking arms in Selma, Alabama,” KMOV reported. “They are trips she apparently took in 2018 and 2019, but did not disclose on travel reports, as required by law. St. Louis’ laws require every elected official report their travel and whether it was paid for with public or private funds.”
In response to the story from KMOV, Gardner’s office released the following statement declaring that she “refuses to apologize” for her actions and calls reports on her trips with the progressive group a “veiled attempt to disparage her”:
Since shortly after her election, Circuit Attorney Gardner has been an active member in Fair and Just Prosecution’s network of progressive prosecutors. She was invited to participate because of her beliefs, values, and goals. Those goals are in line with FJP’s priorities and the same as policies the Circuit Attorney has promised to deliver for St. Louis since day one.
The suggestion that there is any quid pro quo involved here is patently absurd. By working with FJP, she has access to a network of prosecutors who are also implementing change in their communities across the country, prosecutors who are working to create a fairer, more equitable justice system and move beyond the failed policies of the past that created our mass incarceration crisis. Ms. Gardner has been able to share ideas and strategies, learn new approaches, and benefit from the experience and expertise of others. Her work with FJP has benefitted the office and, by extension, the people of St. Louis.
Circuit Attorney Gardner refuses to apologize for seeking reasonable opportunities to further her knowledge and access prosecutors from throughout the nation for best practice. The suggestion that she would be persuaded to follow an alternative that is not focused on addressing the root causes of crime for a few plane tickets and hotel rooms is insulting.
The Circuit Attorney is confident that the public will see through this veiled attempt to disparage her and her efforts to continue to change our criminal justice system to be more just and fair.
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