Two long years and many fights later, the arrest warrant affidavit for David Gregory has finally been revealed.
Thanks to vigorous efforts by Legal Insurrection and Judicial Watch, we know now that police wanted to charge then Meet the Press host David Gregory with illegal possession of a high-capacity gun magazine after he brandished one on the air.
In an affidavit finally obtained via the Freedom of Information Act by Judicial Watch for Legal Insurrection, it was determined, “Based on the aforementioned facts and circumstances of this investigation, your Affiant believes there is probable cause that the offense of possessing a ‘high-capacity’ magazine was committed in the District of Columbia. Therefore your Affiant requests the issuance of an arrest warrant for Gregory, David Michael.”
The only thing that saved the host was Irvin Nathan, the D.C. prosecutor, who declined to prosecute Gregory because he claimed Gregory had no other criminal intent. (No, this won’t work for you.)
William A. Jacobson at the “influential” conservative website of Legal Insurrection summed up the frustrating situation after years of fighting to obtain the documents:
This is likely the final chapter in the saga of our two-year long fight to obtain important documents regarding the non-prosecution of David Gregory for possessing on Meet the Press an illegal high-capacity ammunition magazine.
The short version is that the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department warned NBC News that it could not possess an actual high-capacity magazine, but NBC News went ahead and did it anyway. The MPD recommended a warrant for Gregory’s arrest, but that request was nixed by the D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan because — my paraphrase — Gregory was just too nice a guy and had no other criminal intent.
That attitude stood in stark contrast to the D.C. Attorney General’s vigorous prosecution of other lesser-known people who also were nice people and had no other criminal intent, but violated D.C.’s gun laws.
The folks at Legal Insurrection made the point that they didn’t want Gregory arrested, but they feel that the law itself is ridiculous and needs to be changed. They don’t believe it will be changed until it’s applied to “high profile citizens.” If you are not David Gregory, the consequences for this misdemeanor can include up to a $1,000 fine and/or up to one year in in prison.
Gregory used the magazine during a December 23, 2012 interview with the head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, after the Newtown shootings. The problem is, it ‘s illegal to possess a large capacity magazine in D.C., even if it’s empty.
Two years ago, in January of 2013, the prosecutor’s office “determined to exercise its prosecutorial discretion to decline to bring criminal charges against Mr. Gregory, who has no criminal record”. But it was unclear what went on behind the scenes, hence the Freedom of Information Act requests by Legal Insurrection, whose ultimate goal is to have the law abolished. Two years and many run arounds later, we finally have the facts.
Don’t try this at home, because your “intent” might not be so clear to prosecutors.
As silly as it might seem to arrest a TV show host for breaking the law on air when it seems harmless enough, the law should be applied to everyone equally and in fact, it could be argued that those in positions of power and influence like a TV host have a greater responsibility to model legal behavior.
No matter what, ascribing intentions to people gets into fallacious argument territory and kicks the door open to inequitable application of the law between the haves and the have-nots.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.