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A St. Louis judge dismissed Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner from the Mark and Patricia McCloskey gun case on Friday, a local NBC affiliate reported.
The McCloskeys were indicted by a grand jury in October, following an incident over the summer during which the two brandished firearms on their front lawn opposite a group of Black Lives Matter demonstrators. The demonstrators had entered the McCloskeys’ gated community on their way to protest outside the home of the St. Louis mayor, but the images of the armed McCloskeys opposite the protesters galvanized both conservatives and progressives during the election season.
Judge Thomas Clark dismissed Gardner from the case on Friday, six weeks after the McCloskeys’ attorneys called for her disqualification. The attorneys argued that Gardner was improperly using the case in campaign solicitations, while Gardner claimed she brought up the case publicly in order to counter criticism from President Trump and allies.
“Ms. Gardner has every right to rebut criticism, but it appears unnecessary to stigmatize defendant — or even mention him — in campaign solicitations, especially when she purports to be responding to others,” Clark wrote in his ruling. “In fact, the case law and Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit it.”
Gardner has scheduled an appeal of the ruling for January 7, 2021.