ST. LOUIS — Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who waved guns at protesters last year who marched past the couple’s Central West End mansion, pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanors and agreed to give up their weapons.
Mark McCloskey, 64, will pay a $750 fine after pleading guilty to fourth-degree assault, a Class C misdemeanor. Patricia McCloskey, 62, must pay a $2,000 fine after pleading guilty to second-degree harassment, a Class A misdemeanor. Mark McCloskey could have faced up to 15 days in jail; Patricia McCloskey could have spent up to a year behind bars. Neither will face jail time.
“This particular resolution of these two cases represents my best judgment of an appropriate and fair disposition for the parties involved as well as the public good,” the special prosecutor in the case, former U.S. Attorney Richard G. Callahan, said in a statement.
The McCloskeys also agreed to forfeit the weapons they used when they confronted a throng of protesters marching past their Portland Place mansion on June 28, 2020. The McCloskeys emerged from their home and waved guns at the demonstrators. They claimed the protesters were trespassing by entering their gated, private street.
After accepting the McCloskeys’ pleas in court Thursday, Circuit Judge David Mason denied the couple’s request that Mark McCloskey’s rifle be donated for use in charity fundraisers. The McCloskeys’ lawyer Joel Schwartz said the couple would have liked to donate the rifle to the Missouri Historical Society or “for auction to the (St. Louis) Children’s Hospital.”
Mark McCloskey, outside the Carnahan Courthouse, said “this is a good day for the McCloskeys,” expressing no remorse for his actions.
“The prosecutor dropped every charge except for alleging that I purposely placed other people in imminent risk of physical injury, right, and I sure as heck did,” he said. “That’s what the guns were there for and I’d do it again any time the mob approaches me. … In other words, I stood out on the porch with my rifle and made them back up. And that’s what I’d do again. If that’s a crime in Missouri, by God I did it, and I’d do it again.”
Patricia McCloskey declined to comment.
Mark McCloskey announced in May that he’s running for U.S. Senate.
The couple were indicted last year on charges of unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering, both felonies. Mark McCloskey wielded an AR-15 rifle at racial justice protesters, and Patricia McCloskey pointed a semiautomatic handgun at them as they marched past their home. The crowds entered through an iron pedestrian gate to access Portland Place on their way to former Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home in the Central West End.
The protesters, Callahan said, “were a racially mixed and peaceful group, including women and children, who simply made a wrong turn on their way to protest in front of the mayor’s house. There was no evidence that any of them had a weapon and no one I interviewed realized they had ventured into a private enclave.”
The McCloskeys told police the protesters broke the gate to get in.
Callahan was appointed to the case in February after a judge disqualified Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner and her office because of Gardner’s fundraising emails mentioning the McCloskey case.
Schwartz said Thursday that he still believes Gardner charged his clients “for political purposes.” He said he doesn’t think the case would have had the same resolution without the appointment of a special prosecutor.
“Mr. Callahan looked at this in a reasonable light, and we came up with a reasonable disposition,” Schwartz said.
A spokeswoman for Gardner did not return a phone call Thursday.
Last month, Callahan amended charges against Patricia McCloskey, adding the misdemeanor harassment charge as an alternative to unlawful use of a weapon. Callahan also dismissed the evidence tampering charge against her.
Thursday’s reduced charge against Mark McCloskey replaced the felony gun and tampering charges in exchange for his guilty plea to misdemeanor assault.
Their guilty pleas to misdemeanors will not affect the couple’s ability to own guns or run for office, Schwartz said.
The couple could face professional sanctions for their admission to misdemeanor crimes. Missouri Supreme Court rules give the court the authority to suspend or revoke the couple’s law licenses.
Gov. Mike Parson said last year that he’d “certainly” pardon the McCloskeys if they are convicted stemming from the June confrontation. Parson’s spokeswoman Kelli Jones said Thursday that “we are evaluating the situation but have yet to receive any official documents.”