The St. Louis couple Mark and Patricia McCloskey were charged by a circuit attorney on Monday with unlawful use of a weapon after they pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters in late June.
Hours after the charges were filed, Missouri's attorney general, Eric Schmitt, filed an amicus brief asking that the charges be dismissed.
Schmitt cited the state's "castle doctrine," which allows Missourians to use force against intruders, as a reason the case should be thrown out.
If convicted, the couple face up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Their case has been politically divisive. Gov. Mike Parson said last week that President Donald Trump planned to "help with this situation."
Mark and Patricia McCloskey pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters in their St. Louis neighborhood on June 28.
Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP
Hours after a St. Louis couple were charged for pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters, the attorney general of Missouri weighed in on the case and argued that it should be thrown out.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey were charged Monday with one count each of unlawful use of a weapon.
The charges stem from video taken of the pair on June 28, in which they were seen shouting at and pointing firearms at demonstrators marching through their upscale neighborhood on the way to a protest outside Mayor Lyda Krewson's house.
In announcing the charges, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said: "We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation will not be tolerated."
On Monday night, hours after the charges were filed, Missouri's attorney general, Eric Schmitt, filed an amicus brief in the case defending the McCloskeys, who work as personal-injury lawyers.
In a previous interview with KMOV, Mark McCloskey said a "mob of at least 100" broke into their gated community and came rushing toward their house, causing him and his wife to fear for their lives.
Schmitt said the McCloskeys were well within their rights to arm themselves against intruders, citing the state's "castle doctrine," which allows homeowners to use force to protect their property.
"The right to keep and bear arms is given the highest level of protection in our constitution and our laws, including the Castle Doctrine. This provides broad rights to Missourians who are protecting their property and lives from those who wish to do them harm," Schmitt wrote in his brief, according to KSDK.
He continued: "Despite this, Circuit Attorney Gardner filed charges against the McCloskeys, who, according to published reports, were defending their property and safety.
"As Missouri's Chief law enforcement officer, I won't stand by while Missouri law is being ignored — that's why I entered this case to seek its dismissal, to protect the rights of Missourians to defend their property under Missouri's Castle Doctrine."
It will be up to a judge whether to take Schmitt's advice and throw the case out.
The McCloskeys' case, which has made national headlines, has been politically divisive.
Schmitt, a Republican, called the case a "politically motivated prosecution."
Last week, President Donald Trump defended the couple, telling the conservative Townhall that attempts to prosecute the couple were a "disgrace," adding: "These people were standing there, never used it, and they were legal, the weapons."
Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, also said later that day that Trump planned to "help with this situation."
Read the original article on Insider