The married St. Louis lawyers who pointed guns at protesters in their neighborhood in 2020 and went on to receive pardons after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges were outside the courthouse on Friday when a Kenosha, Wisconsin jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse, 18, of murder and all other charges. Mark McCloskey and Patricia McCloskey welcomed the verdict in an interview with The Law&Crime Network’s Angenette Levy.
“I think it’s a great day for America,” said Mark McCloskey, who is running for the U.S. Senate. “It’s a great day for individual liberty. It’s a great day for the Second Amendment.”
“I can’t imagine what Kyle had to experience,” Patricia McCloskey said. “They will still continue to say things about him the rest of his life, and the mainstream media will still continue to say things as if he’s a vigilante, that he set out to hurt people.”
In August 2020, protests and violence erupted in Kenosha after a police officer shot local man Jacob Blake, who is Black. Armed men, including Rittenhouse, went to the city ostensibly to protect property, but the night of Aug. 25, 2020 ended with Rittenhouse killing Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and injuring Gaige Grosskreutz, 27. His defense maintained he was just protecting himself when Rosenbaum ambushed him. Having shot the older man, Rittenhouse fled the scene. But nearby people, including Huber and Grosskreutz, attacked him when they did not understand what actually happened, the defense said.
The prosecution maintained that Rittenhouse was in Kenosha that night looking for trouble, and he found it.
“He’s a chaos tourist,” Assistant District Attorney James Kraus said in his rebuttal closing argument.
Rittenhouse’s case became a cause célèbre among the political right and Second Amendment advocates. As part of this, Mark McCloskey took shots President Joe Biden, Democratic lawmakers, and insisted that the “mainstream media” encourages violence.
“The media encourages the violence by not denouncing the violence,” McCloskey said, complaining about “mob rule.”
He asserted that none of the “rioters” from Aug. 24, 2020 and Aug. 25, 2020 in Kenosha were arrested or charged (which is not true). McCloskey complained about a lack of charges against Grosskreutz.
“He didn’t get charged with attempted murder,” McCloskey said. “He apparently was carrying a weapon that he was not allowed to carry because he’s a felon. I don’t see him prosecuted for that.”
Grosskreutz acknowledged on the stand that he was convicted of a crime before. He was never accused of shooting at Rittenhouse, though the defense maintained that he was chasing Rittenhouse with the gun after the Rosenbaum shooting. Grosskreutz denied intentionally pointing his gun at Rittenhouse. Grosskreutz also admitted on the stand that he didn’t tell police the whole story.
More than 250 people were arrested on different charges during the unrest and protests, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in September 2020. As Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger said during the Rittenhouse trial, his office is also prosecuting Joshua Ziminski in an arson case.
Mark McCloskey said he has not met Rittenhouse, but he would like to.
The details of the McCloskeys’ case was decidedly different from Rittenhouse, as the attorney couple stood outside their home armed while protesters passed by.
Critics mocked the sight of the McCloskeys, but the McCloskeys rode that attention to national recognition. The couple on Friday reasserted their claims that protesters threatened to rape Patrica McCloskey and kill them both. Amid pleading guilty to fourth-degree assault in June, Mark McCloskey said he “do the same thing again” to protect his home and family.
“Well, recently, the prosecutor has dropped the charges against me, except for a claim that I purposefully placed other people in imminent fear of physical harm,” he said. “And by God I did. And any time they come to threaten me, I’ll do the same thing again, and again, and again to protect myself, my home, my family, and our rights as human beings. A vote for McCloskey is a vote for standing your ground. Vote for me, and we’ll never back down.”
Aaron Keller contributed to this report.
[Screenshot via Law&Crime Network]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]