D.C. Attorney General Refused to Prosecute “Meet the Press” Host despite Acknowledging “the clarity of the violation” of the Law
(Washington, DC) – 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)).
On Sunday December 23, 2012, Meet the Press host David Gregory 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 magazine. The possession of such an ammunition magazine was a clear violation of the law of the District of Columbia. D.C. Code § 7-2506.01(b).
Gregory displayed the ammunition magazine on air despite the fact that, according to the D.C. OAG, “NBC was clearly and timely advised by an MPD 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.” In early January, the MPD announced that it had completed its investigation and presented the case to the OAG “for a determination of the prosecutorial merit of the case.”
On January 11, 2013, D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. 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. . . .”
On January 14, 2013, Legal Insurrection submitted a District of Columbia FOIA request to MPD and OAG seeking access to the following records:
- The January 9, 2013 letter from Lee Levine on behalf of David Gregory, referenced in the letter dated January 11, 2013 from Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan to Mr. Levine which was publicly disclosed on that date.
- 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”).
- 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 Legal Insurrection 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. The OAG also withheld in their entirety an affidavit and warrant responsive to the Legal Insurrection request. On April 17, 2013, MPD informed Legal Insurrection that it was withholding responsive records as well. The Legal Insurrection FOIA lawsuit asks the court to declare OAG and MDP in violation of the law and to order them to produce the records without further delay.
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.”
A radical leftwing group that’s led a damaging boycott against corporations that support gun rights and voter identification laws has special access to the Obama White House and strong ties to top Democrats, according to internal documents obtained in the course of a Judicial Watch investigation.
The JW probe initially focused on a nonprofit (Color of Change) that claims to “strengthen Black America’s political voice” but uncovered an intricate brew of like-minded groups that have joined forces to push their common agenda against voter ID measures and gun rights, including “stand your ground” laws. The groups, all tax-exempt nonprofits, wield tremendous power because they have alarming access to the Obama White House and strong ties to top Democratic figures connected to the president, JW found.
Here is a sample of what these community organizations are about, straight from Color of Change’s website (incidentally, the group was founded by Obama pal Van Jones, whose radical, racist history got him booted as “Green Czar”): “For years, the right wing has been trying to stop Black people, other people of color, young people, and the elderly from voting — and now some of America’s biggest companies are helping them do it. These companies have helped pass discriminatory voter ID legislation by funding a right wing policy group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).”
ALEC is an influential conservative organization of state legislators and private companies that helps craft laws that often get enacted nationwide. An example is Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which allows victims of violence to use deadly force when attacked outside their homes. The measure, adopted in two dozen states, has come under fire from the left after a black Florida teenager was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer this year. Color of Change has led a successful corporate boycott campaign against ALEC for its support of stand your ground laws.
Joining Color of Change in its mission and at White House visits are the equally radical leftist groups New Organization Institute, which called for the national demonstrations to “end economic segregation” and social injustice in the U.S. (Occupy Wall Street), and the League of Young Voters, which claims to help low-income communities of color have an impact on elections and federal policy. The Ruckus Society, which provides “direct action” training for protestors, is also part of the syndicate and so is the founder of a national hip-hop movement, Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur.
The White House welcomed representatives from the groups at least twice in 2011, according to records obtained by JW. On February 18 James Rucker, Color of Change’s executive director, had a one-on-one meeting with Miti Sathe, the Assistant Director of Youth Outreach in the Office of Public Engagement. On April 12 Rucker and representatives from the other organizations met with Kalpen Modi, the Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement.
JW found that Color of Change isn’t the only group with deep ties to the president. The New Organization Institute is, not only run by Obama campaign operatives, it also shares office space in Washington D.C. with Democratic Gain, a nonprofit whose leadership consists almost entirely of Democratic Party, union, and Obama campaign veterans. Among those listed as directors at the New Organization Institute are Obama campaign agents such as Judith Freeman and Zack Exley, who also helped run Massachusetts Senator John Kerry’s failed presidential campaign. This colocation certainly raises questions about the ties between the Democratic Party, the president and the New Organizing Institute.