Late last week, Judicial Watch along with the website Legal Insurrection made new headlines in the curious non-prosecution of NBC’s David Gregory, with their release of the January 2013 arrest warrant affidavit for the former Meet the Press host. Despite the open and shut case for charges laid out in the document, on January 11, 2013, the D.C. Office of the Attorney General announced its decision not to prosecute Gregory, insisting, “Prosecution would not promote public safety in the District of Columbia.”
The affidavit stems from Gregory’s conduct during the December 23, 2012, edition of Meet the Press. While interviewing NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, Gregory retrieved a 30-round AR-15 magazine and used it as a prop in an attempt to add drama to his lame accusations. The performance earned Gregory significant negative attention, including that of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, as standard capacity AR-15 magazines are banned in D.C., where the show is filmed.
NBC was well aware of this fact. The affidavit makes clear that prior to filming, NBC employees contacted both BATFE and D.C. police to inquire as to the legality of displaying a 30-round magazine on their program. A representative from the D.C. police made clear that possession of the magazine would be illegal, stating in an email, “possession of high capacity magazines is a misdemeanor under Title # 7 of the DC Code, I would suggest utilizing photographs for their presentation.” This straightforward warning was ignored.
The decision not to prosecute Gregory, coupled with the city’s vigorous prosecutions of others who have harmlessly violated technical provisions of the District’s onerous gun laws, is rife with elitism and hypocrisy. NRA agrees that Gregory did not pose a threat to public peace or order by displaying a common firearm magazine during his cheap media stunt. Yet neither do any other of the peaceable Americans who possess and use these magazine for legitimate purposes and who officials of D.C. are all too eager to smear and prosecute as violent criminals.
Gregory’s treatment by then-D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan reveals something important about both men and how they exercised their professional roles. As a law enforcement official, Nathan was willing to put politics above equal treatment under the law. As a Meet the Press “journalist,” Gregory not only failed to challenge the power structure in D.C., but was such a useful tool to District officials that the law was deemed not to apply to him. Both men should be ashamed of themselves.