The polarizing St. Louis prosecutor, who last month charged a couple with lightning strikes for a crowd marching to the mayor’s house, was almost assured another term after winning the Tuesday primary.
St. Louis Circuit attorney Kim Gardner defeated Mary Pat Carl by 61:39 in the Democratic area code, according to Fox 2 Now. Since the voters in St. Louis are predominantly democratic, it is likely to be favored against Republican Daniel Zdrodowski in November.
44-year-old Gardner said her victory on Tuesday was “related to people who sent a message that they wanted reform in the city of St. Louis”.
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Last month, she accused Mark and Patricia McCloskey – both personal injury lawyers in their sixties – of illegally using a weapon to display weapons when demonstrators marched near their home.
“It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner – this is illegal in the city of St. Louis,” Gardner said in a statement.
The McCloskeys said they had defended themselves during the June 28 incident, with tensions in St. Louis amidst nationwide police protests sparked by police deaths from George Floyd. They said that the crowd of demonstrators broke an iron gate with “No Trespassing” and “Private Street” signs, and that some had threatened them violently.
Republican from Missouri Mike Parson said on July 20 that he would consider pardoning the couple if they get prosecuted.
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“Kim Gardner’s action against the McCloskeys is outrageous,” Parson wrote on Twitter. “Worse, the prosecutor has admitted there is a backlog of cases and dozens of murders that have not been prosecuted, but it has speeded up the case.”
Given that St. Louis has one of the highest homicide rates in the country, Parson – among other critics – has accused Gardner of wasting high-profile efforts instead of doing more to put murderers behind bars.
Republican Attorney General of Missouri, Eric Schmitt, called on a judge to dismiss the charges and called it “a political persecution.” President Donald Trump also criticized Gardner on Twitter and in interviews.
“At a time when the police need to be called, at a time when violent crime rates are skyrocketing – again here in Missouri and St. Louis – we have a prosecutor who is now targeting individuals to exercise their fundamental rights under the second amendment . ” “Said Schmitt.
Joel Schwartz, the couple’s attorney, filed an application last Wednesday claiming Gardner used the McCloskey case in St. Louis, KSDK, for fundraisers. He cited a campaign email dated July 17 that was said to have been sent three days before his customers’ charges.
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“The July 17 email drew a direct line from the incident, which had not yet resulted in criminal charges, to Ms. Gardner’s political antagonists and from there to a call for donations to further her re-election efforts,” wrote Schwartz . “It implied that the accused was one of those who maintain a system of systemic racism and police brutality.”
In 2018, Gardner accused the government at the time. Republican Eric Greitens with an offense against privacy. The indictment accused Greitens of taking a compromising photo of a woman during an extramarital affair and threatening to publish it if she spoke of her relationship. Greitens admitted the affair, but denied having committed a crime. The charge was later dropped, but Greitens resigned in June.
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Despite the criticism, Gardner has received much support from the city’s black community, who has praised its reforms and willingness to take over the police, who they believe have been unfairly attacking black residents for years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report