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Soros-backed St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner allegedly busted flying around the globe on a progressive organization’s dime — without reporting it

George Soros-backed St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has come under fire recently for allegedly traveling across the country and world on a criminal justice reform organization’s dime without reporting it, in apparent violation of city and state law.

According to an investigation into the matter by local news station KMOV-TV, the progressive attorney embarked on numerous trips in 2018 and 2019 that were “paid for in full, or in part, by an organization called Fair and Just Prosecution, a group that professes to support progressive prosecutors,” yet she did not disclose the trips on travel reports.

Billionaire philanthropist George Soros has also contributed to Fair and Just Prosecution, the report said.

Gardner, who has risen to the national spotlight in recent weeks after filing charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey for brandishing guns while defending their home from Black Lives Matter protesters, was also allegedly unresponsive on trips, causing work to be back-logged.

Sources reportedly told KMOV that Gardner’s traveling was “prolific and problematic,” and that she was often “unreachable.”

News 4 Investigates: St. Louis Circuit Attorney hasn’t disclosed trips required by law, documents

Gardner had previously reported trips to New York, Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia, and other places paid for by the organization in 2017. But when the news outlet submitted a public information request about any trips during the following two years, nothing turned up, despite pictures of Gardner posted on social media showing her on several trips.

“When something isn’t reported, the public has a right to ask well, why wasn’t it?” Patrick Ishmael, who works for the St. Louis-based Show-Me Institute, said. “Elected officials have an obligation to be transparent and that’s especially true related to their duty because the public wants to know their officials are working for the interest and not someone else’s.”

KMOV noted that “St. Louis’ laws require every elected official report their travel and whether it was paid for with public or private funds” and that “sometimes Missouri law also mandates information about who paid for travel and lodging.”

In response to the allegations, Gardner’s office said:

The suggestion that there is any quid pro quo involved here is patently absurd. By working with FJP, she has access to a network of prosecutors who are also implementing change in their communities across the country, prosecutors who are working to create a fairer, more equitable justice system and move beyond the failed policies of the past that created our mass incarceration crisis …

Circuit Attorney Gardner refuses to apologize for seeking reasonably opportunities to further her knowledge and access prosecutors from throughout the nation for best practice. The suggestion that she would be persuaded to follow an alternative that is not focused on addressing the root causes of crime for a few plane tickets and hotel rooms is insulting.

The Circuit Attorney is confident that the public will see through this veiled attempt to disparage her and her efforts to continue to change our criminal justice system to be more just and fair.

In response to KMOV’s inquiry, Fair and Justice Prosecution acknowledged that it is standard practice for the organization to pay for a prosecutor’s food, lodging, and airfare for their events. They did not confirm the number of trips that Gardner has been on.

Earlier this year, Gardner faced criticism after a grand jury probe was launched into her failed prosecution against former Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens.

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Patricia McCloskey’s ​gun was inoperable when seized, so a St. Louis prosecutor ordered crime lab to reassemble it and make it operational

The handgun Patricia McCloskey was armed with when a large group of protesters marched near her home in St. Louis was inoperable when seized by police. A St. Louis prosecutor ordered the crime lab to dismantle and then reassemble the firearm to make it functional, according to a report from KSDK-TV.

St. Louis couple Mark and Patricia McCloskey brandished firearms after 500 protesters marched into a gated community in the affluent Central West End neighborhood on June 28. The two St. Louis attorneys stood outside their home and were ready to protect their property.

St. Louis police served a search warrant on the McCloskeys earlier this month. Police confiscated the couple’s guns that they were holding during the encounter with demonstrators in June — an AR-15 and a handgun. Patricia McCloskey’s handgun was inoperable when it was seized by law enforcement.

The McCloskeys said that the handgun was purposely made inoperable. The firearm was allegedly used as a “prop” so that it could be brought into a courtroom for a lawsuit the couple once filed against a gun manufacturer. The handgun had its firing pin rendered inoperable to make it safe to bring into the courtroom. The couple claim they never reassembled the gun to enable it to be functional.

Mark McCloskey appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” earlier this week, where he hinted that the firearms were taken by law enforcement to see if they were operational and that there would soon be “some revelations.”

“The technicality of the law is, they have to determine whether or not the weapons were readily capable of being fatal or causing serious bodily harm, and so they have to take them and test them and that sort of thing,” McCloskey told Tucker Carlson. “There will be some revelations about that.”

A member of Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s staff ordered crime lab experts to disassemble and reassemble the handgun. Once it was reassembled correctly, the gun was “readily capable of lethal use.”

“Assistant Circuit Attorney Chris Hinckley ordered crime lab staff members to field strip the handgun and found it had been assembled incorrectly. Specifically, the firing pin spring was put in front of the firing pin, which was backward, and made the gun incapable of firing,” according to documents obtained by KSDK.

Prosecutors had the crime lab reassemble Patricia McCloskey’s handgun. The crime lab test-fired the handgun successfully. It was restored as a “deadly weapon” on Monday.

Also on Monday, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner filed charges against the McCloskeys with a felony count of unlawful use of a weapon.

Gardner alleged that the McCloskeys waved their weapons in a “threatening manner” at “peaceful, unarmed protesters.”

“It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner at those participating in a nonviolent protest, and while we are fortunate this situation did not escalate into deadly force, this type of conduct is unacceptable in St. Louis,” Gardner wrote.

The McCloskeys’ attorney, Joel Schwartz, told KSDK that the St. Louis couple intentionally misplaced the firing pin on the handgun and that it was in that condition when Patricia McCloskey waved it at protesters and when it was turned in to their former attorney Al Watkins.

“It’s disheartening to learn that a law enforcement agency altered evidence in order to prosecute an innocent member of the community,” Schwartz said.

On Sunday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) said he would consider a pardon in the McCloskeys‘ case.

Gardner staffer ordered crime lab to reassemble Patricia McCloskey’s gun

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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.”