Soros-Backed Prosecutor Kim Gardner Resigns3 min read
An embattled George Soros-bankrolled prosecutor in St. Louis resigned Thursday amid a legal effort by Missouri’s attorney general to fire her for allegedly neglecting her duties.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner, the city’s top prosecutor, is stepping down following repeated, bipartisan calls for her resignation from officials across the state.
Gardner’s office tweeted her resignation letter, which was addressed to the people of St. Louis.
Gardner is one of the first progressive prosecutors whom Soros, a liberal billionaire and Democrat mega-donor, bankrolled in 2016 and again for her re-election in 2020. She announced last month that she would seek a third term. Her resignation is effective June 1.
For years, Gardner’s office has faced criticism for mishandling cases and office dysfunction. The final straw for Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey came in February, when a teenage volleyball player visiting St. Louis with her team was struck by a car and lost both of her legs.
A man was charged in the crash with assault, armed criminal action and operating a motor vehicle without a valid license. He was out on bond awaiting trial for a separate armed robbery case despite violating the terms of his bond several dozen times.
Gardner argued that her office had tried to put the suspect back in jail but that a judge had denied their request. However, there are no court records of her office — which is responsible for monitoring compliance with bond conditions and revoking them when those terms are violated — asking for his bond to be revoked, according to local reports.
In the wake of the incident, Bailey filed a petition quo warranto, the legal mechanism under state statute that allows the attorney general to remove a prosecutor who neglects the job’s duties.
Bailey claims that nearly 12,000 criminal cases have been dismissed by what he calls Gardner’s failures. He also says more than 9,000 cases have been thrown out as they had been about to go to trial, forcing judges to dismiss more than 2,000 cases due to what Bailey described as a failure to provide defendants with evidence and speedy trials.
Despite Gardner’s resignation, Bailey was unsatisfied, releasing a statement calling on her to leave office immediately rather than wait until the end of the month.
“There is absolutely no reason for the circuit attorney to remain in office until June 1,” he said. “We remain undeterred with our legal quest to forcibly remove her from office. Every day she remains puts the city of St. Louis in more danger. How many victims will there be between now and June 1? How many defendants will have their constitutional rights violated? How many cases will continue to go unprosecuted?”
Gardner had refused to leave office for months, calling Bailey’s efforts a political “witch hunt” and a form of “voter suppression.” She also suggested that racism and sexism are behind some of the criticism against her.
A St. Louis judge had set a tentative trial date for Sept. 25 to hear arguments from both sides.
Meanwhile, Gardner’s office is facing two proceedings for contempt of court after prosecutors failed to appear for multiple court dates. In one contempt case, a Missouri judge said Gardner had “complete indifference and a conscious disregard for the judicial process” and called her office a “rudderless ship of chaos.”
It’s unclear if the contempt hearings will be dropped.
Several assistant prosecutors recently resigned from Garner’s long understaffed office, which has been plagued by persistent personnel issues creating low morale and a dysfunctional working environment.
Gardner’s tenure was riddled with allegations of misconduct and mishandled cases long before her latest legal issues. In one case, she was publicly reprimanded and fined by the Missouri Supreme Court.
More broadly, Gardner has been scrutinized for what critics have deemed soft-on-crime policies.