As Missouri state lawmakers were poised to take away her power, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced Thursday that she will resign.
Gardner has been denounced repeatedly in recent weeks for running 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 letter of resignation, Gardner blasted state lawmakers who were pushing a bill that would have appointed a special prosecutor to do the work Gardner’s office does
“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 said her resignation would be effective June 1.
— Circuit Attorney (@stlcao) May 4, 2023
Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, a Democrat, said Gardner spoke with lawmakers Wednesday to broker a deal that would lead to her exit and the end of 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.
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, a Republican who has been trying to push Gardner out of office since February, said in a statement she should not have a month 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?”
Gardner took office in 2017. Organizations linked to far-left billionaire George Soros have given her campaigns at least $150,000, according to the Washington Examiner.
She made headlines in 2020 when she prosecuted Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who pointed firearms at a mob trespassing in their gated neighborhood during the nationwide Black Lives Matter riots. Gardner was later removed from the case after a judge determined she was pursuing it for “political purposes.”
For the past two years, St. Louis has topped the list of America’s most dangerous cities, as reported by Forbes.
Gardner supporter Adolphus Pruitt, head of the local NAACP, called her exit “a modern-day lynching,” according to the Post-Dispatch.
“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.
Gardner’s high-profile tenure unraveled for good after a case in which court delays blamed on her office left a man named Daniel Riley out on the street. In February, Riley was the driver of a car that crashed into a visiting teenager, leading to both of her legs being amputated, according to KSDK-TV.
Pressure snowballed after Noble said she should be held in contempt for failures of her office to appear in court.
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 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.”
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, will appoint Gardner’s replacement.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.