Mark and Patricia McCloskey were indicted by a grand jury Tuesday on two counts each of exhibiting a weapon and tampering with evidence, St. Louis’ KSDK reported.
Over the summer, the St. Louis, Missouri, homeowners were thrust into the national spotlight when video showed the couple standing armed outside their home as angry protesters broke into their gated neighborhood and allegedly made violent threats against them, according to Fox News.
On June 30, only two days after the incident, St. Louis prosecutor Kimberly Gardner announced her plan to press charges against the McCloskeys, Fox reported. The couple spoke at the National Republican Convention in August, where they warned of what could be coming for other law-abiding citizens if President Donald Trump is not re-elected.
Two criminal indictments
The grand jury reportedly reached a decision to indict the McCloskeys on Tuesday afternoon.
The first felony charge of unlawfully exhibiting a weapon had already been filed by Gardener. The second charge, tampering with evidence, was added by the grand jury, KSDK reported.
In spite of the tampering charge against the McCloskeys, previous reports suggest that if any tampering with evidence occurred, it was actually the prosecutor’s office that did so.
A document that appears to be a lab report from a firearms analysis in the case shows the handgun wielded by Patricia McCloskey was inoperable when it was originally seized by police, according to a July report from St. Louis’ KMOV. The report reveals the prosecutor’s office had crime lab workers reassemble the seized gun so that it could be deemed “readily capable of lethal use,” a key component of the law against brandishing.
“It would be disheartening to learn, if accurate, that the authorities tampered with evidence in order to bring charges against an innocent member of the community,” the McCloskeys’ attorney, Joel Schwartz, said at the time.
Persecuted by the local government
The grand jury indictments currently remain under seal, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The attorney for the McCloskeys announced his plans to request audio recordings or transcripts of the proceedings to see exactly what was presented by the prosecutors.
Mark McCloskey, for his part, expressed indignation over how he and his wife are being targeted while the actions of the threatening mob are being ignored.
“The government chooses to persecute us for doing no more than exercising our right to defend ourselves, our home, our property, and our family, and now we’re getting drug here time after time after time and for what?” he told reporters outside the courthouse on Tuesday, KMIZ reported. “We didn’t fire a shot. People were violently protesting in front of our house and screaming death threats and threats of rape and threats of arson. Nobody gets charged but we get charged.”
Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has expressed his support for the McCloskeys and has promised to pardon them if they are convicted, The Hill reports. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has also filed a motion to dismiss all charges against the couple, according to KSDK.