JANUARY 23, 2015
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today announced that it has obtained the affidavit in support of the arrest of NBC’s David Gregory in association with a gun law violation committed in December 2012 on Meet the Press. Gregory exhibited a high-capacity ammunition magazine during an interview with the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre concerning firearms policy in the United States.
In January 2013, Legal Insurrection submitted a FOIA request to the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) seeking access records related to the Gregory incident.
In May 2013, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit on behalf of William A. Jacobson, who runs the Legal Insurrection blog, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia seeking access to records concerning the decision by the District of Columbia not to prosecute Gregory (Jacobson v. District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General, et al. (No. 13-0003283)).
The District government was forced by a local District court to turn over the supporting affidavit and had withheld the document for over two years before finally turning over the document yesterday evening to Judicial Watch lawyers. The District was planning to appeal the lower court ruling but settled the matter by turning over the document only after Judicial Watch promised not to seek attorney fees and costs.
“The Affidavit in Support of An Arrest Warrant” confirms that D.C. Detective Wayne Gerrish believed there was probable cause that Mr. Gregory had committed a crime and requested an arrest warrant for Gregory. Despite the detailed request, Andrew Fois, D.C. Deputy Attorney General for Public Safety, declined to the issue the warrant.
The document shows the District police repeatedly informed NBC News that using the high-capacity magazine would be illegal. For example, the affidavit reports:
At approximately 4:05 P.M. [December 21, 2012], NBC News Editor [Name Withheld] emailed the Metropolitan Police Department’s [Information Withheld] and stated the following: “Meet the Press is interviewing a person on the show this Sunday in studio – Producers for the show would like have a clip (standard or high power), without the ammunition in studio to use on the show. There will be no gun, no bullets, just clips. Is this legal?”
The District Metropolitan Police Department twice responded this and other NBC News inquiries with the following statement:
No, possession of high capacity magazines is a misdemeanor under Title #7 of the DC code. We would suggest utilizing photographs for their presentation.
Despite these warnings, Gregory displayed the high magazine clip on air during the December 23, 2012 episode of Meet the Press. The police document shows that the Detective Gerrish attempted to interview Mr. Gregory but was told by Mr. Gregory to contact NBC attorneys. NBC lawyers then told the detective that “no interviews” of Mr. Gregory would be “allowed at this time.”
The detective concluded his affidavit with a request for the “issuance of an arrest warrant for Gregory, David Michael.”
Andrew Fois wrote “declined” on the arrest warrant request. Fois denied the request on January 11, 2013.
On the same day, 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. . . .”
“In 2012, the police arrested at least 105 people for charges that included possession of a magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds. The [District’s Office of Attorney General] charged 15 of those people in cases that included a ‘high-capacity feeding device or extended clip.’” according to the Washington Times.
“This affidavit for an arrest warrant of David Gregory shows that NBC News thinks it is above the law. Imagine what NBC News would make of a corporation whose employees violated the law despite being warned by the police! If David Gregory were not a major media personality and not then employed by NBC, he would have almost certainly been arrested and prosecuted for possessing the illegal high magazine clip,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is no wonder the District government covered up its special favor for NBC News and David Gregory for two years. Liberals in the District seem to think that they should be immune from the absurd and constitutionally-suspect gun laws they like and want enforced.”
“The Affidavit demonstrates the facts as to NBC News’ open defiance of the law. This was no innocent error. The point of all this was not that we wanted David Gregory prosecuted. We didn’t. There is no reason for mere possession of an unloaded high-capacity magazine, not to be used in the commission of some other crime and far away from actual ammunition, to be a crime. But it is in D.C.,” said William Jacobson of legalinsurrection.com. “This is a nice victory for transparency and accountability for both the big media and the government. We thank Judicial Watch attorneys Jim Peterson and Ramona Cotca, who did a great job helping our independent group of journalists beat City Hall.”
That needs to change, but it probably will not, until people like David Gregory and other high profile citizens start having it enforced as to them.