Judicial Watch, a leading government open records organization, announced today that it has filed suit on behalf of Legal Insurrection to obtain documents regarding David Gregory’s violation of the District of Columbia gun laws and the investigation which led to the decision of the District of Columbia Attorney General not to prosecute:
Judicial Watch announced today that it has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and Office of the Attorney General (OAG) on behalf of the politics and law blog Legal Insurrection, run by law professor William A. Jacobson. The FOIA lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, seeking access to records concerning the decision by the District of Columbia not to prosecute David Gregory, the host of the NBC news show “Meet the Press,” after Gregory violated District of Columbia law by displaying a high-capacity ammunition magazine during a broadcast interview (Jacobson v. District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General, et al. (No. 13-0003283))….
According to Professor Jacobson: “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.”
“Judicial Watch is pleased to be representing Legal Insurrection and Professor Jacobson in this important matter of equal justice under the law,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “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 If Gregory shouldn’t be prosecuted then no one should be – and the law should be rescinded. In the meantime, we hope the courts end the cover-up of the circumstances of the Gregory investigation.”
Longtime readers are aware of the background.
David Gregory famously was not prosecuted by District of Columbia Office of Attorney General (OAG) despite a clear violation of the D.C. gun law against possession of high-capacity ammunition magazines.
Given that D.C. aggressively prosecutes even technical violations of the law by people not engaged in any other crime, this non-prosecution decision reeked of special treatment for a famous D.C. personality. When it turned out that D.C. Attorney General Nathan Irvin once shared a stage with Gregory’s wife at a charity mock trial event, the optics were horrible.
In its letter explaining the decision not to prosecute, OAG released few details of how the magazine was obtained in the first place, which was a potential crime in itself, and ignored the complicity of NBC News personnel beyond Gregory in what arguably was a conspiracy to violate the D.C. gun laws.
With harsh gun laws spreading throughout many states and cities in the wake of the Newtown shooting, equal and fair application of the gun laws is an important public interest issue.
In order to shed light on this questionable handling of the case, days after the non-prosecution decision was announced Legal Insurrection served a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on OAG and MPD.
We were met with stonewalling and a widespread withholding and redaction of documents. MPD in particular stalled producing anything until late April, far beyond its statutory deadline.
We did learn a few things from what was produced, including that NBC News clearly and unequivocally was told by MPD that possession of the magazine violated D.C. law.
But the redactions were so severe in so many of the documents, that much of what happened was obscured.
We do know that a meeting was planned with NBC with arrangements to evade the public:
And that there were discussions with NBC’s counsel:
Important documents were withheld in their entirety, including the letter from Gregory’s attorney detailing the facts as to how the magazine was obtained and who was involved, and a Warrant and supporting Affidavit prepared by MPD which were not acted upon by OAG.
Given the widespread non-compliance with the FOIA request, we enlisted the help of Judicial Watch in filing suit to obtain compliance with FOIA.
We appreciate the help of Judicial Watch.
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