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McCloskeys claim Gardner used their case as part of reelection campaign

McCloskeys claim Gardner used their case as part of reelection campaign

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ST. LOUIS  — Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple charged with illegally pointing guns at protesters outside the couple's Portland Place home last month, are seeking to disqualify Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner from their case, claiming she exploited the confrontation for political gain.

The couple on Wednesday alleged Gardner highlighted the case in a campaign email to drum up support for her re-election bid for St. Louis circuit attorney.

Gardner is facing former assistant prosecutor Mary Pat Carl in the Democratic primary next week.

The McCloskeys' motion, filed by defense attorney Joel Schwartz, alleges Gardner's campaign emailed supporters on July 17 with references to their case. The McCloskeys were charged three days later.

"The July 17th 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 call for donations to further her re-election efforts," the McCloskeys' motion says.

Their motion seeks to disqualify all prosecutors in Gardner's office as well.

"She has indicated through her fundraising emails that she made the decision to initiate charges," the motion says. "A reasonable person would conclude that any member of the (circuit attorney's office) would know the importance the boss places on the case, and that this would color any assistant's decision-making process.

A spokeswoman for Gardner said Wednesday she would seek a response.

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