Missouri’s legal ethics watchdog has asked the state Supreme Court to suspend U.S. Senate candidate Mark McCloskey’s law license for six months after pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault in a widely publicized gun-waving incident during a police brutality protest last summer.
McCloskey and his wife, Patricia McCloskey, both St. Louis attorneys, were captured on video holding guns and confronting nonviolent protesters from their lawn in June 2020 as the marchers headed past their house on the way to then-St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home. No shots were fired and no one was injured.
The incident went viral and received both widespread backlash and praise, launching the couple to conservative stardom. Earlier this year, Mark McCloskey announced his campaign for the Senate seat being vacated by Roy Blunt. He pleaded guilty this June to misdemeanor fourth-degree assault, a conviction that was followed weeks later by a promised pardon from Gov. Mike Parson.
Patricia McCloskey pleaded guilty to misdemeanor second-degree harassment; she was also pardoned.
Alan Pratzel, Missouri’s chief disciplinary counsel, appointed by the Supreme Court to investigate ethics complaints against attorneys, wrote in a filing to the court last week that the pardons have “no impact” on whether the McCloskeys should face discipline for professional misconduct.
Supreme Court rules allow attorneys to be disciplined if they are convicted of misdemeanors involving corruption or “moral turpitude.”
Pratzel wrote that Mark McCloskey’s guilty plea and statements to reporters afterward that he’d “do it again” violated his “duties to the public and the legal profession” and “brought discredit to the profession.”
McCloskey has not responded to the allegations in his professional disciplinary case. A spokesperson for his Senate campaign could not immediately be reached for comment.
As part of the guilty plea, McCloskey admitted to a judge that he had put others at risk of injury.
“I sure as heck did,” he told reporters outside the courthouse. “That’s what the guns were there for and I’d do it again any time the mob approaches me, I’ll do what I can to place them in imminent threat of physical injury because that’s what kept them from destroying my house and my family.”
Pratzel wrote that the statements demonstrated disrespect for the judicial process.
“Minutes after admitting in court that his behavior was not legally justified in that setting, he told the news media that he would commit the same crime under the same circumstances.”