ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced Thursday that she will resign amid pressure from Missouri state lawmakers poised to strip her of power. Her resignation is effective June 1, according to reports.
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, a Republican who has been instrumental in forcing Gardner from office for the past several months, said in a statement she should not have until June to remain in power, according to KMOV-TV.
“There is absolutely no reason for the Circuit Attorney to remain in office until June 1st. We remain undeterred with our legal quest to forcibly remove her from office,” Bailey said. “Every day she remains puts the city of St. Louis in more danger.
“How many victims will there be between now and June 1st? How many defendants will have their constitutional rights violated? How many cases will continue to go unprosecuted?”
Bailey gave Gardner an ultimatum back in February to resign or be removed from office due to ongoing neglect. The impetus behind the demand was a public safety outcry following another catastrophe created by someone who should have been in custody. A driver — who repeatedly violated his bond conditions — was recklessly operating a vehicle when he smashed into a teenage volleyball player, critically injuring the girl, Law Officer previously reported.
The teen later had both of her legs amputated, according to KSDK-TV.
Missouri Judge Michael Noble said last week, “The circuit attorney’s office appears to be a rudderless ship of chaos,” reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Pressure snowballed after Noble said Gardner should be held in contempt for failures of her office to appear in court.
Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, a Democrat, said Gardner communicated with lawmakers Wednesday to broker a deal that would lead to her exit, thus eliminating the need for the proposed legislation, according to the Post-Dispatch.
“She was on speaker with some of her attorneys and we were just walking through the parameters of what it would or wouldn’t be,” Rizzo said. “We obviously came to a place where she would be willing to resign” if the legislation was dropped.
“There was an agreement in place that that would happen sooner than later,” he said.
In her letter of resignation, Gardner took aim at state lawmakers who were pushing a bill that would have appointed a special prosecutor to do the work Gardner’s office is tasked with performing, The Western Journal reported.
“The most powerful weapon I have to fight back against these outsiders stealing your voices and your rights is to step back,” she wrote. “I took this job to serve the people of the City of St. Louis, and that’s still my north star.”
— Circuit Attorney (@stlcao) May 4, 2023
Gardner was linked to far-left billionaire George Soros when she took office in 2017. His organizations have given her campaigns at least $150,000, according to the Washington Examiner.
She made headlines in 2020 when she targeted Mark and Patricia McCloskey for prosecution after they defended their home and property by brandishing weapons as a boisterous, trespassing mob marched through the gated community during the nationwide Black Lives Matter riots. Gardner was subsequently removed from the case after a judge determined she was pursuing it for “political purposes.”
Although the McCloskey’s brokered a deal with prosecutors, they were later pardoned by Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican.
For the past two years, St. Louis has remained at the top of the list of America’s most dangerous cities, as reported by Forbes.
Even St. Louis defense attorney Scott Rosenblum said Gardner had to go.
“This was overdue,” he said. “The office was running amok.”
Former assistant prosecutor Natalia Ogurkiewicz, who resigned last month, said “countless lives” have been “ruined” as a result of Gardner’s tenure.
Gov. Parson will appoint Gardner’s successor.
The St. Louis Circuit Attorney isn’t the first Soros-funded prosecutor to be chased from office due to repeated failures. Former San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin proved too radical even for the liberal city as voters recalled him in June 2022.