Kim Gardner, the circuit attorney of St. Louis, announced her resignation on Thursday as Missouri state legislators prepared to strip her of her authority.
In recent weeks, Gardner has been repeatedly criticized for leading a dysfunctional office.
“The circuit attorney’s office appears to be a rudderless ship of chaos,” Missouri Judge Michael Noble said at one point last week, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
In her resignation letter, Gardner criticized state legislators who were pressing for a measure that would have appointed a special prosecutor to perform the duties of Gardner’s office.
“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.”
Gardner announced that her resignation would become effective on June 1.
— Circuit Attorney (@stlcao) May 4, 2023
According to the Post-Dispatch, Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, a Democrat, stated that Gardner spoke with legislators on Wednesday to broker an agreement that would lead to her resignation and the end of the proposed legislation.
“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.
According to KMOV-TV, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, a Republican who has been attempting to oust Gardner since February, stated in a statement that she should not have a month to remain in office.
“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?”
In 2017, Gardner assumed office. According to the Washington Examiner, organizations with ties to the far-left billionaire George Soros have contributed at least $150,000 to her campaigns.
She made headlines in 2020 when she prosecuted Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who pointed firearms at a Black Lives Matter throng trespassing in their gated neighborhood. Eventually, Gardner was removed from the case after a judge determined that she was pursuing it for “political purposes.”
Forbes reports that St. Louis has led the list of America’s most hazardous cities for the past two years.
According to the Post-Dispatch, Gardner supporter Adolphus Pruitt, president of the local NAACP, referred to her resignation as “a modern-day lynching.”
“It is unfortunate that all of the forces against Kim Gardner chose to make it impossible for the office to function in the way that it needed to and in so many ways, chased away any talent that might have wanted to work for that office,” Pruitt said.
After a case in which court delays attributed to her office led to the eviction of Daniel Riley, Gardner’s high-profile tenure came to an end for good. According to KSDK-TV, in February, Riley was the driver of a vehicle that crashed into a visiting adolescent, resulting in the amputation of both of her legs.
After Noble stated that she should be held in contempt for her office’s failings to appear in court, the pressure intensified.
Scott Rosenblum, a defense counsel in St. Louis, stated that Gardner must leave.
“This was overdue,” he said. “The office was running amok.”
Former assistant prosecutor Natalia Ogurkiewicz, who quit the officer last month, said Gardner “backed down so that the information would not get out, and the people in the city, the countless lives that she has ruined with all of this, they all deserve to have these answers.”