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St. Louis couple who brandished guns at protesters pleads not guilty

Mark and Patricia McCloskey pleaded not guilty Wednesday to grand jury charges related to a June incident during which they brandished guns at protesters who walked by their St. Louis home. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/7a2c6b482d0c9c5eb879b342f8ba3cf2/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Mark and Patricia McCloskey pleaded not guilty Wednesday to grand jury charges related to a June incident during which they brandished guns at protesters who walked by their St. Louis home. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 14 (UPI) -- A St. Louis couple who brandished guns at protesters walking by their home in June pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges in an indictment from a grand jury.

Mark McCloskey, 63, and Patricia McCloskey, 61, pleaded not guilty to felony charges of unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering after a hearing on Wednesday.

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Joel Schwartz, an attorney for the couple, called the case against them "a political prosecution," accusing Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner of wasting resources by pursuing it.

"The fact that Kim Gardner and the Circuit Attorney's Office have chosen to use their judicial resources to prosecute the McCloskeys, who are clearly innocent of any crime, committed no crime whatsoever, is sort of a travesty," said Schwartz.

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The Circuit Attorney's Office charged the couple in July with one count each of unlawful exhibiting of a weapon and the grand jury added the charge of evidence tampering earlier this month.

Protesters walked through the gated community of Portland Place on June 28, as Mark McCloskey pointed an AR-15 rifle at them while his wife waved a semiautomatic handgun, placing protesters in fear of injury, the July charging documents said.

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The evidence tampering charge alleges that the couple altered the pistol held by Patricia McCloskey, which the couple's lawyer said was inoperable when she wilded it during the protest.

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The couple is set to return to court on Oct. 28.

They have received national attention since the incident, including a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention and Schwartz on Wednesday said President Donald Trump contacts them "semi-frequently."

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