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Chief St. Louis Prosecutor Kim Gardner Resigns Under Pressure

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner will resign June 1, ending a tumultuous tenure plagued by allegations of mismanagement and chronic staffing issues. Gardner said her decision to leave was centered around scuttling legislation that would exert more state control over her office and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, reports St. Louis Public Radio. “I can absorb these attacks, and I have,” Gardner said. “But I can neither enable nor allow the outright disenfranchisement of the people of the City of St. Louis, nor can I allow these outsiders to effectively shut down our important work.” State Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo said Gardner called him and broached the possibility of resigning in exchange for lawmakers dropping the special prosecutor bill.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, who has been trying to oust Gardner with a court process called quo warranto, questioned why Gardner was waiting until June 1 to step down, adding that his bid to remove her from office would continue. Gardner’s resignation came after a particularly damaging week for the Democratic prosecutor, including a judge allowing most of Bailey’s case to remove her from office to go forward and revelations that she was taking nursing classes during a staffing crisis at her office. Political support for Gardner was eroding. St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones had said that Gardner needed to do “soul-searching” about whether she wanted to continue in her post. Momentum was building in favor of state legislation allowing the governor to appoint a special prosecutor who who could handle key aspects of Gardner's duties, such as violent crimes. Gov. Mike Parson will appoint Gardner’s replacement to fill the remainder of her term, which runs through the end of 2024. Parson, a Republican, said he would work with Jones, a Democrat, to decide on a replacement. Gardner, 47, was the city’s first Black circuit attorney.


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