(AP) — A St. Louis couple who gained notoriety for pointing guns
at social justice protesters last year pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanor charges and agreed to hand over the weapons they used in the confrontation.
pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment and was fined $2,000. Mark McCloskey
pleaded guilty to misdemeanor fourth-degree assault
and was fined $750.
When hundreds of protesters marched past their home in June 2020, the couple waved weapons at them, claiming that the protesters were trespassing and that they feared for their safety.
During Thursday's hearing, the McCloskeys
, both lawyers in their 60s, wore blue blazers and spoke calmly in response to Judge
David Mason's questions. Mason asked Mark McCloskey if he acknowledged that his actions put people
in danger of personal injury
, to which he replied, "I sure did, your honor."
Mark McCloskey, who announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate
in May, was unapologetic following the hearing.
“I'd do it again,” he said from the courthouse steps in downtown St. Louis. “Any time the mob approaches me, I'll do everything I can to put them in immediate danger of physical
harm because that's what kept them from destroying my house and my family.”
, the McCloskeys' defense lawyer, said after the hearing that the couple hoped to raise money
by donating Mark's rifle to charity
, but that this was an unusual request.
Because the charges are misdemeanors, the McCloskeys will not lose their law licenses and will be allowed to keep their firearms.
“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,” special prosecutor Richard Callahan stated following the hearing.
According to Callahan, the protesters “were a racially mixed and peaceful group, including women
, 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 onto a private enclave.”
According to the indictment, Mark McCloskey emerged with an AR-15-style rifle, and Patricia McCloskey waved a semiautomatic pistol during the June 28, 2020, protests. No shots were fired, and no one was injured.
A grand jury
indicted the McCloskeys in October on felony charges of unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering, but Callahan later amended the charges to give jurors the option of a misdemeanor harassment conviction instead of the weapons charge, with the evidence tampering count dropped.
by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner's office resulted in the initial indictments — and harsh criticism from several Republican
leaders. Then-President Donald Trump
defended the couple, whose newfound celebrity earned them a video appearance at the Republican National Convention.
Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson
has stated that if the McCloskeys are found guilty, he will pardon
them. A spokeswoman for Parson did not immediately respond to a request for comment following the hearing.
Callahan, a longtime judge and former U.S. attorney, was appointed special prosecutor after a judge ruled in December that Gardner created an appearance of impropriety by mentioning the McCloskey case in fundraising emails before the August Democratic primary
. Gardner was re-elected.