While Rosen Is Pursued, Gregory's Gun Violation Gets a Pass

If there is one lesson I have learned over my decade and a half at Judicial Watch, it is this: you must never overestimate the hypocrisy of the Left--especially in covering for their own. 

Lest you have even the slightest doubt, cast an eye to the outrageous behavior of District of Columbia Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan when he allowed NBC-TV’s David Gregory to walk away scot free for a firearm offense, even while openly acknowledging “the clarity of the violation of the law.”

We don’t know for certain what prompted Nathan to decline to prosecute Gregory. We do know that, according to the Washington Post, until the Republican sweep in 2010, he had been the House Democrats’ top lawyer. We also know that he was appointed attorney general by D.C. Democrat Mayor Vincent Gray. And we know that some legal experts have questioned why Nathan did not recuse himself from the case when it was discovered that he had a personal relationship with David Gregory’s wife. Clearly more information was required.

On January 14, 2013, William A. Jacobson, founder and author of the outstanding blog website, Legal Insurrection, submitted a District of Columbia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and Office of the Attorney General (OAG) seeking access to the following records:

  1.  The January 9, 2013 letter from Lee Levine on behalf of David Gregory, referenced in the letter datedJanuary 11, 2013 from Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan to Mr. Levine which was publicly disclosed on that date.

  2.  All communications between the District of Columbia Office of Attorney General and/or Metropolitan Police Department, on the one hand, and legal counsel for David Gregory and/or NBC News, on the other hand, with regard to the incident involving the display on television by Mr. Gregory of an alleged high-capacity ammunition clip (the "Gregory incident").

 3.  All documents in the possession of the MPD and OAG regarding the Gregory incident, to the extent not exempted from disclosure under applicable law,  including but not limited to witness statements, evidence review and possession records, interview notes, and forensic testing.

On February 20, 2013, OAG informed Jacobson that it was withholding certain requested records, including the January 9, 2013, letter from NBC attorney Lee Levine, as well as responsive emails between OAG and MPD. (We just learned the letter from Levine was made available to the media, but is being withheld from us!)

The OAG also withheld in their entirety an affidavit and a warrant responsive to the Jacobson FOIA request. On April 17, 2013, MPD informed Jacobson that it was withholding responsive records as well. This past week, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit on Jacobson’s behalf asking that the Court to declare OAG and MDP in violation of the law and to order them to produce the records without further delay.

The known facts in the Gregory case are simple. On Sunday December 23, 2012, the “Meet the Press” host interviewed the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre concerning firearms policy in the United States. During the course of the interview, Gregory exhibited a high-capacity ammunition clip. The possession of such an ammunition clip is in violation of the law of the District of Columbia. 

Gregory displayed the ammunition clip despite the fact that, according to the D.C. Office of the Attorney General,“NBC was clearly and timely advised by an MPD (Metropolitan Police Department) employee that its plans to exhibit on the broadcast a high capacity magazine would violate D.C. law, and there was no contrary advice from any other federal official.”

Some argued that, in accordance with D.C. law, Gregory should have been charged with a weapons violation and taken into custody, as other alleged offenders have been. The MPD failed to do so, however, and in early January announced that it had completed its two-week investigation and presented the case to the OAG “for a determination of the prosecutorial merit of the case.”

On January 11, 2013, after just two days of deliberation, Attorney General Nathan sent a letter to NBC saying that his office would not prosecute Gregory, “despite the clarity of the violation of this important law.” The Attorney General added, “There is no doubt of the gravity of the illegal conduct in this matter...”

Yet, in what surely must be one of the most glaring non sequiturs I’ve seen, Nathan then refused to prosecute Gregory. And the Washington Times’ outstanding editorialist Emily Miller well summed up the absurdity of the situation when Gregory first committed his violation:

The District came up with its overly restrictive laws in response to the Supreme Court overturning the capital city’s 30-year gun ban. The statutes shouldn’t apply just to regular people but to the rich and powerful as well. The District should either repeal its over-the-top restrictions or send a squad car to take David Gregory into custody.

The way Gregory’s prosecution decision was handled undermines confidence in the fair administration of justice.  If Gregory shouldn’t be prosecuted then no one should be – and the law should be rescinded.  Our client Prof. Jacobsen also is seeking justice in the public interest:

“The documents being withheld will help shed light on the details of this highly publicized non-prosecution, which raised issues as to whether well-connected and famous D.C. insiders were treated as any other citizen in a similar situation.  I appreciate Judicial Watch assisting in this search for the truth.”

Let’s hope the courts put an end to this cover-up.


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