St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis couple who waved guns at protesters who had broken down the gate into their neighborhood to get to the mayor’s house last year both pleaded guilty to misdemeanors on Thursday.
Mark McCloskey, 61, pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree assault, a Class C misdemeanor, KTVI reported.
He was ordered to pay a $750 fine but will not face any jail time.
His wife, 63-year-old Patricia McCloskey, pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment, which is a Class A misdemeanor, KTVI reported.
Patricia McCloskey was fined $2000 by the court and also won’t face jail time.
Both McCloskeys agreed to forfeit their guns to be destroyed under the terms of their plea agreements, KTVI reported.
A grand jury indicted the couple on gun and evidence tampering charges in October of 2020 for defending their historic home from angry protesters four months earlier.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey were featured holding a pistol and a semi-automatic rifle in now-iconic viral videos after a mob broke down the gate into their private neighborhood and threatened their lives.
The incident occurred on June 28, 2020 when rioters who were trying to get to the St. Louis mayor’s private residence broke down the locked gate into the community where the McCloskeys resided and began marching through the private streets.
The McCloskeys, who are both attorneys, grabbed an unloaded semi-automatic rifle and an inoperable prop gun from a court case and faced off with the protesters in front of their $1.5 million home to defend their property.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner subsequently charged the McCloskeys with one felony count each of unlawful use of a weapon, after the couple stood outside their own home and displayed guns to defend their property.
But then in December of 2020, Circuit Judge Thomas Clark II disqualified Gardner and her entire office from prosecuting McCloskeys.
Clark cited the fact the prosecutor sent improper fundraising emails that mentioned Mark and Patricia McCloskey.
The judge’s order said that the two fundraising emails Gardner sent out before and after she charged the McCloskeys with felony gun crimes made it look like the prosecutor “initiated a criminal prosecution for political purposes,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
“Like a needle pulling thread, she links the defendant and his conduct to her critics,” the judge wrote. “These emails are tailored to use the June 28 incident to solicit money by positioning her against defendant and her more vocal critics.”
The judge’s order barred the whole St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office from participating in the prosecution of the couple, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
“This is a high-profile case, receiving extensive media coverage, eliminating any possibility that any assistant circuit attorney is unaware of Ms. Gardner’s incipient interest, initial involvement and advocacy on this matter,” Clark said.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt expressed his opposition to the prosecution of the McCloskeys by filing a brief supporting a motion to dismiss the case, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson said that if the McCloskeys were convicted, he would pardon them.
In May, the special prosecutor assigned to their case amended the charges against Patricia McCloskey to give the jury the option to convict her of misdemeanor harassment instead of a weapons charge, KTVI reported.
The McCloskeys were scheduled to go to trial in November.
The announcement that the McCloskeys had taken plea deals came a surprise to many, given the political support they’d had from state leadership.
Mark McCloskey is currently running for U.S. Senate in Missouri as a Republican, KTVI reported.