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Gun-Waving St. Louis Couple Plead Not Guilty To 2 Felony Charges

Mark and Patricia McCloskey leave a court hearing Wednesday in St. Louis. The McCloskeys pleaded not guilty to unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with evidence.
Jeff Roberson
/
AP
Mark and Patricia McCloskey leave a court hearing Wednesday in St. Louis. The McCloskeys pleaded not guilty to unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with evidence.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who waved guns at Black Lives Matter protesters on their private street in June, pleaded not guilty to two felony charges on Wednesday.

A grand jury indicted the couple last week on charges of unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with evidence. They had been charged in July with the weapon violation; the grand jury added the evidence charge. The indictment states that the pistol held by Patricia McCloskey was altered before it was handed over to investigators.

The charges are the result of a confrontation between protesters and the McCloskeys on June 28.

Protesters were marching down the private street en route to the home of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson. The McCloskeys were seen on video outside of their mansion brandishing firearms. Mark McCloskey carried an AR-15 rifle, while Patricia had her finger on the trigger of a semi-automatic handgun.

St. Louis police issued trespassing summonses to nine protesters for entering private property, but the City Counselor's Office opted not to pursue charges against them.

The McCloskeys, personal injury lawyers in their 60s with a history of suing their neighbors, have blamed "leftist" Democrats in St. Louis government for the charges against them. Their attorney, Joel Schwartz, says President Trump has taken an interest in the McCloskeys' case.

"They have spoken with the president," Schwartz said after Wednesday's hearing, The Associated Press reports. "The president contacts them semi-frequently."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Laurel Wamsley is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She reports breaking news for NPR's digital coverage, newscasts, and news magazines, as well as occasional features. She was also the lead reporter for NPR's coverage of the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.

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