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Parson says he’d ‘certainly’ pardon the McCloskeys, the St. Louis couple indicted on evidence tampering and gun charges

Parson says he’d ‘certainly’ pardon the McCloskeys, the St. Louis couple indicted on evidence tampering and gun charges

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JEFFERSON CITY — In his first press briefing since recovering from COVID-19, Gov. Mike Parson said he “certainly” will pardon Mark and Patricia McCloskey if they are convicted of crimes in St. Louis stemming from a June incident on their property.

The governor, responding to a question Wednesday, reiterated a pledge he made in July on KFTK (97.1 FM) after St. Louis police executed a search warrant at the couple’s Central West End mansion, seizing their guns.

The McCloskeys, who pointed an AR-15 and a semiautomatic handgun at protesters on June 28, were indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday on charges of unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering. The McCloskeys confronted the protesters as they entered Portland Place, a gated private street, on their way to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s residence on nearby Lake Avenue.

Asked Wednesday whether he still planned to pardon the couple, Parson said, “Most certainly would. Most certainly would.

“We’ll let it play out and see how this all comes out in the courts, but I stand by what I said,” he said.

The McCloskeys have been subjects of international news coverage over the summer. In the United States, Republicans rallied around the couple, who ended up speaking at the Republican National Convention.

Parson, like governors before him, has faced a backlog of requests from prisoners seeking leniency from the state’s top official.

Also Wednesday, Parson announced he was freeing up more than $38 million in funds his administration had restricted earlier this year amid lagging tax collection projections. He said the state’s fiscal outlook had improved since July.

“We are now in a position to release some of the funding that was restricted earlier this year,” Parson said.

Among the funds released Wednesday was $150,000 for investigating unregulated slot machines and $300,000 for school safety training grants, according to a list of authorized spending.

In addition to authorizing the use of about $38 million in general revenue, the governor also green-lighted the spending of about $95 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding.

The administration was directing the largest chunk of money — $61.5 million — to support K-12 education, according to Parson’s office.

Parson also said Wednesday that four of his staff who tested positive for COVID-19 had recovered and had returned to work.

He said a special legislative session to hammer out budget issues was likely, though the governor didn’t offer any dates during the press conference.

Mark McCloskey and his attorney Joel Schwartz speak to the press outside the Carnahan Courthouse after a court appearance on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. The hearing has been continued for one week. Video by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

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