Gov. Parson names Gardner’s replacement

Published: May. 18, 2023 at 3:30 PM CDT|Updated: May. 19, 2023 at 11:03 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has selected Gabriel E. Gore to be the next St. Louis Circuit Attorney.

His selection of whom to lead the embattled office comes just days after former Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner resigned from the office.

Gore is a private practice attorney and a partner at Dowd Bennett. According to their website, “He has tried over 20 cases, including cases involving breach of contract, product liability, misappropriation of trade secrets, securities fraud, breach of trust, employment and property damage claims. His clients include Fortune 500 corporations, corporate executives and high-ranking government officials.”

Gore’s prosecuting experience includes time at the United States Attorney’s Office. He was also previously a partner at the law firm Bryan Cave.

He was appointed to serve on the Ferguson Commission in the wake of the death of Michael Brown. He also currently sits on the board for Forest Park Forever.

Gore’s current firm, Dowd Bennett, defended Eric Greitens on criminal charges filed by Gardner against the then-Governor in 2018. The firm also represented St. Louis in the historic Rams settlement.

Parson pointed to a backlog of cases and dysfunction at the prosecutor’s office in a press conference Friday.

“Crime anywhere affects Missourians everywhere,” Parson said as he introduced Gore as the city’s next top prosecutor.

Gore took the podium after Parson, saying he wants to bring public safety to St. Louis, where he has chosen to raise a family.

“As I accept this appointment, my sole focus is to begin the process of building a Circuit Attorney’s Office that is high performing and can provide a level of justice and public safety the citizens of St. Louis deserve,” Gore said.

He said the success of the office will hinge on the “cooperation and collaboration of everyone that is represented here today.”

Gardner resigned Tuesday, two weeks earlier than expected. Gov. Parson had been interviewing several candidates, after narrowing the field from 18 initial applicants.

A spokesperson for the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court said judges will work with Gore as he moves into the position.

“The 22nd Judicial Circuit Court in St. Louis congratulates Gabriel E. Gore on being appointed the city’s new circuit attorney.

The judges of this circuit remain committed to the citizens of the St. Louis region and pledge to work with Gore as he rebuilds experience and stability within the Circuit Attorney’s Office.

During this time of transition, the Court hopes the region comes together to offer support and assistance to the CAO’s new leader with a renewed focus on public safety and the fair administration of justice in the City of St. Louis.”

Thursday evening, one frontrunner, Circuit Judge Michael Noble received a call from a top Parson staffer, indicating he had not been selected.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell released the following statement after Gore was named:

“I’ve always been consistent that we stand ready to help our City of St. Louis partners. Now, with the appointment of Circuit Attorney Gore, I’ll make it plain: the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office stands ready to help in any way that we can to help stabilize the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office. Those who commit serious and violent crimes do not recognize jurisdictional borders, thus real solutions to violent crime must involve working across political boundaries in the interest of our collective public safety. Public safety in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County is invariably interconnected, and a functioning Circuit Attorney’s Office is vital to the safety of this entire region. My colleagues in prosecutor’s offices across the region have expressed their support as well, and I look forward to everyone pulling together during this critical transition in the Circuit Attorney’s Office.”

In a joint statement, Missouri Senate President Caleb Rowden and House Speaker Dean Plocher applauded area prosecutors for their offers to help the new circuit attorney during the transition.

Gore will hold the circuit attorney position until the next election in 2024.

This is a developing story. Check back for additional details.