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Missouri governor says he’ll likely pardon armed St. Louis couple if they are charged

The governor of Missouri does not expect the armed St. Louis couple who defended their home to go to jail, and he would be willing to pardon them if it came down to it.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey garnered internet fame, condemnation, and praise after photos and videos of them defending their home went viral. Approximately 500 protesters marched into a gated community in the wealthy Central West End neighborhood on June 28. The two St. Louis attorneys were prepared to protect their mansion and were caught on camera wielding guns.

St. Louis police served a search warrant on lawyers the McCloskeys earlier this month. Police confiscated the couple’s firearms that they were armed with during the tense encounter with demonstrators in June – an AR-15 rifle and a handgun.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, the prosecutor who is handling the case, said, “We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation or threat of deadly force will not be tolerated.”

While there have yet to be charges filed against the couple, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) said he would pardon the McCloskeys if they are charged for brandishing firearms at a group of protesters outside their home.

Parson made the revelation on Friday during an appearance on “The Marc Cox Morning Show” on 97.1 FM in St. Louis. Parson said the McCloskeys “did what they legally should do” in protecting their property.

“A mob does not have the right to charge your property,” Parson stated. “They had every right to protect themselves.”

When asked if he would pardon the St. Louis couple if charges were filled, Parsons replied, “I think that’s exactly what would happen,” according to The Hill.

“Right now, that’s what I feel,” he added. “You don’t know until you hear all the facts. But right now, if this is all about going after them for doing a lawful act, then yeah, if that scenario ever happened, I don’t think they’re going to spend any time in jail.”

Parson wrote on Twitter: “We will not allow law-abiding citizens to be targeted for exercising their constitutional rights.”

Parson, along with President Donald Trump and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), have all criticized Gardner’s investigation into the couple. President Trump called the investigation of the McCloskeys a “disgrace.”

Hawley called for an investigation into the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office.

“This is an unacceptable abuse of power and threat to the Second Amendment,” read a letter from Hawley to U.S. Attorney General William Barr. “I urge you to consider a federal civil rights investigation into the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office to determine whether this investigation and impending prosecution violates this family’s constitutional right.”

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said the McCloskeys have been politically targeted.

“Under Missouri law, under the Castle Doctrine, an individual has really expansive authority to protect their own lives, their home, and their property. I think the story here to watch here is the local prosecutor, Kim Gardner,” Schmitt said in a Fox News interview.

“Kim Gardner has an abysmal record in prosecuting violent crime, has recently released and been complicit in the release of dozens and dozens of inmates who have been charged with violent crimes, and has a record of making politically motivated decisions not based on the law,” Schmitt added. “So, this is certainly something to watch.”

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President Trump will be ‘getting involved’ in McCloskey case as criminal charges loom

Just one day after Mark McCloskey, the St. Louis attorney who went viral for defending his property from an encroaching mob, predicted that he and his wife would be “indicted shortly,” President Donald Trump is reportedly looking into the case.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) revealed Tuesday that Trump would be “getting involved,” the Washington Post reported.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican. (Jacob Moscovitch/Getty Images)

Parson — who finally offered his own defense of the couple, saying they had “every right to protect their property” — reportedly discussed the matter with Trump during a phone call Tuesday afternoon.

“The president said that he would do everything he could within his powers to help with this situation and he would be taking action to do that,” Parson said.

In an interview with Townhall Media, Trump criticized local St. Louis authorities as a “disgrace” for seeking to punish the McCloskeys. He said:

When you look at St. Louis, where two people, they came out. They were going to be beat up badly if they were lucky. If they were lucky. They were going be beat up badly and the house was going to be totally ransacked and probably burned down like they tried to burn down churches. And these people were standing there, never used it and they were legal, the weapons, and now I understand somebody local, they want to prosecute these people. It’s a disgrace.

After the McCloskeys went viral last month, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner claimed the couple had committed a “violent assault,” and she vowed to hold them accountable. Her statement came before an investigation into the matter had been completed, let alone initiated.

On Tuesday, she blasted Trump and Parson for what she claimed was jurisdictional overstep.

“It is unbelievable the Governor of the state of Missouri would seek advice from one of the most divisive leaders in our generation to overpower the discretion of a locally elected prosecutor,” she said in a statement.

St. Louis authorities executed a warrant against the McCloskeys last Friday during which the couple’s firearms were seized. The basis of the warrant was not made clear.

What is clear, law experts say, was the McCloskeys’ right to defend their property — even if it meant using lethal force.

Anders Walker, a constitutional law professor at the St. Louis University School of Law, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Missouri’s castle doctrine protects the McCloskeys from criminal liability.

“At any point that you enter the property, they can then, in Missouri, use deadly force to get you off the lawn,” Walker explained. “There’s no right to protest on those streets. The protesters thought they had a right to protest, but as a technical matter, they were not allowed to be there. … It’s essentially a private estate. If anyone was violating the law, it was the protesters.”