Gov. Parson taps former federal prosecutor Gabriel Gore as new St. Louis circuit attorney
Gov. Mike Parson selected Gabriel Gore, a former federal prosecutor and current private practice lawyer, to be the next St. Louis circuit attorney.
Gore is a partner at the Dowd Bennett law firm in St. Louis. He previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney, a law clerk for federal Appeals Court Judge John Gibson and an assistant special counsel for the investigation of the FBI raid in Waco.
Parson announced his choice to succeed Kim Gardner on Friday in St. Louis. Gardner, who was facing possible ouster by the Missouri attorney general, unexpectedly moved up her planned June 1 resignation and left the office earlier this week.
In 2014, then-Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Gore to the Ferguson Commission — which came up with a host of policy recommendations in response to a Ferguson police officer fatally shooting Michael Brown and subsequent calls for change. Parson also picked Gore to serve on the Missouri State University Board of Governors.
Although he’s a Republican, Parson was widely expected to select a Democrat to succeed Gardner. St. Louis is heavily Democratic, and any GOP appointee would likely have lost a bid for a full, four-year term next year.
A number of African American faith leaders wanted Parson to pick a Black person to serve as circuit attorney. Gardner was the first Black woman to serve in the position, and the city of St. Louis is split relatively evenly between white and African American residents.
Gore will face a challenge in stabilizing an office that’s been mired in a crisis for some time. Gardner faced immense criticism for being unable to hire and retain staff, which meant that the remaining assistant circuit attorneys handled an unmanageable number of cases.
Bailey and regional prosecutors have pledged to help. They include St. Charles County Prosecutor Joe McCulloch, who said stabilizing the circuit attorney’s office was a concern for the entire region.
“We have an idea of how bad it is down at the circuit attorney's office, but that's us looking from the outside in,” McCulloch said. “It really won't be determined until we're on the inside.”
McCulloch said he’s hoping that some former circuit attorney staff members return to help.
“I think you're going to see a lot of former prosecutors go back there and allow the ship to get righted quicker than we think,” he said.
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