by Peter Hasson
Attorneys representing Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who displayed firearms after a group of protesters broke a gate and approached their private property, want St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner disqualified from the case after she cited her prosecution of the pair in a fundraising email for her re-election campaign.
The McCloskeys’ attorneys included in Wednesday’s motion two fundraising emails from Gardner’s reelection campaign that clearly referred to the McCloskey case, according to court documents reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“You might be familiar with the story of the couple who brandished guns during a peaceful protest outside their mansion,” a July 17 campaign email states, according to court documents.
The email went on to say that “President Trump and the Governor are fighting for the two who pointed guns at peaceful citizens during the Black Lives Matter protests” and later included a request for campaign donations, the court documents show.
“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 July 22 email said, according to court documents. The email went on to ask supporters to “rush a donation today” to signal their support for her in the case, court documents show.
“Ms. Gardner, via her campaign mailers, linked the criminal proceedings against [the McCloskeys] to her personal, financial and political interests,” Joel Schwartz, the couple’s attorney, wrote in the motion Wednesday.
“The standard for disqualification of a prosecutor is the same as that for a judge. A prosecutor (and a prosecutor’s offie as a whole when appropriate), should be disqualified where a reasonable person would have factual grounds to find an appearance of impropriety,” Schwartz added in Wednesday’s filing.
“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 compromise,” he continued.
“Ms. Gardner has invited that concern by invoking [the] case specifically in her campaign,” Schwartz wrote.
Gardner’s office didn’t immediately return the DCNF’s request for comment.
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Peter Hasson is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Kim Gardner” by KSDK News.