Judge: Gun-waving lawyer shouldn’t get guns or money back
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Missouri judge has ruled that a pardon from the governor doesn’t mean the St. Louis lawyer and his wife who gained national attention for waving guns at racial injustice protesters in 2020 should get back the weapons they surrendered and fines they paid after guilty pleas last year.
Mark McCloskey sued last year to have returned a Colt AR-15 rifle and a Bryco .380-caliber pistol that he and his wife, Patricia McCloskey, surrendered when they pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the confrontation with protesters. McCloskey said he was entitled to the guns and remitted fines because Republican Gov. Mike Parson pardoned him and his wife weeks after their guilty pleas.
On Wednesday, Circuit Judge Joan Moriarty ruled that the pardon had no bearing on the plea agreement, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
“Plaintiff and his wife are required to follow through with their end of the bargain,” she wrote.
Mark McCloskey said he plans to appeal.
The McCloskeys have said they felt threatened by protesters who walked on their private street past their home during global protests that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. They emerged from their home waving guns.
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They were each indicted on felony charges of unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering. Mark McCloskey later agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor fourth-degree assault and was ordered to pay a $750 fine. Patricia McCloskey pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment and was ordered to pay a $2,000 fine.
Earlier this year, the court suspended Mark and Patricia McCloskeys’ law licenses but delayed the suspension and put the two on probation for a year. The order means the couple can still practice, but the suspension will take effect if they violate their probation by breaking any more laws.
During the 2021 sentencing hearing, Judge David Mason asked Mark McCloskey if he acknowledged that his actions put people at risk of personal injury. He replied, “I sure did your honor.” Afterward on the courthouse steps, McCloskey, at the time a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, said he’d do it again if faced with similar circumstances.
Richard Callahan, the special prosecutor who investigated the case said his investigation determined that the protesters were peaceful.
“There was no evidence that any of them had a weapon and no one I interviewed realized they had ventured onto a private enclave,” he said in a news release after the McCloskeys pleaded guilty.