St. Louis gun-waving couple pleads guilty to misdemeanors

A St. Louis couple who gained notoriety for pointing firearms at social justice demonstrators last year pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanor charges and agreed to give up the weapons that they used during the confrontation.

St. Louis gun-waving couple pleads guilty to misdemeanors

Patricia McCloskey pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment and has been fined $2,000. Her husband, Mark McCloskey, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor fourth-degree attack and was fined $750.

When a few hundred demonstrators marched past their home in June of 2020, the few waved weapons at them. They claimed the protesters were trespassing and that they feared for their security.

The McCloskeys, both of these lawyers in their 60s, wore blue blazers and talked calmly in answering questions from Judge David Mason during Thursday's hearing. Mason requested Mark McCloskey when he confessed his activities put people at risk of personal harm. He replied,"I sure did your honor."

Mark McCloskey, who announced in May that he had been running to get a U.S. Senate seat in Missouri, was unapologetic following the hearing.

"I would do it ," he explained in the courthouse steps in downtown St. Louis. "Any time the mob tactics me, I'll do what I could to set them in imminent danger of bodily injury because that's what kept them from destroying my house and my loved ones."

The McCloskeys' defense attorney, Joel Schwartz, said after the hearing that the couple had expected to raise money by devoting Mark's gun to charity, but acknowledged that it was an odd request.

Since the charges are misdemeanors, the McCloskeys do not face the prospect of losing their law permits and certainly will continue to own firearms.

On the courthouse steps after the hearing, special prosecutor Richard Callahan said the misdemeanor plea was reasonable noting the McCloskeys called the authorities, no shots were fired and nobody was hurt.

"But I think that their conduct was a little unreasonable at the end," he explained. "I really don't think people should view this situation as some kind of betrayal or attack on the Second Amendment. We have the Second Amendment rights. It's just that the Second Amendment doesn't permit unreasonable conduct."

The June 28, 2020, protests came after George Floyd's departure under a Minneapolis police officer's knee. Mark McCloskey emerged with an AR-15-style rifle, and Patricia McCloskey found a semiautomatic pistol, according to the indictment. Cellphone video captured the confrontation. No shots were fired and no one was hurt.

The McCloskeys were indicted by a grand jury in October on felony charges of unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering. Callahan later amended the fees to provide jurors the alternative of convictions of misdemeanor harassment instead of the firearms charge. Under that alternative, the evidence tampering count would be dropped.

An investigation from St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner's office resulted in the first indictments -- and unpleasant backlash from several Republican leaders. Then-President Donald Trump spoke out in defense of the bunch, whose newfound star earned them an appearance via video in the Republican National Convention.

Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has stated that when the McCloskeys are convicted, he would pardon them.

Callahan, a longtime judge and former U.S. attorney, was appointed special prosecutor after a judge in December ruled that Gardner made an appearance of impropriety by mentioning the McCloskey case in fundraising emails before the August Democratic primary.

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