You may recall that former NBC Meet the Press host David Gregory waved a high-capacity ammunition magazine at NRA jefe Wayne LaPierre in a post-Newtown interview. The display was a clear and undeniable violation of D.C. Code Section 7-2506.01(b) banning the possession of high capacity ammo mags, a class D felony. So how did Gregory skate? Judicial Watch (via legalinsurrection.com) has been on the case with various Freedom of Information Act requests. Turns out the D.C. police warned NBC not to use a real mag but a picture. And when the peacock network’s news execs ignored the advice, they issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Gregory. And then . . .
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. . . .”
Judicial Watch hasn’t unearthed a document detailing the real reason behind Nathan’s decision to let Gregory get away with a criminal act. Nor will it. (Politicians aren’t that stupid.) The DC AG’s letter offers this official explanation for hanging fire:
A prosecution would not promote public safety in the District of Columbia nor serve the best interests of the people of the District to whom this office owes its trust.
Despite giving Gregory et al. a pass, Nathan’s letter eviscerates NBC’s excuse for breaking the law:
No specific intent is required for this violation, and ignorance of the law or even confusion about it is no defense. We therefore did not rely in making our judgment on the feeble and unsatisfactory efforts that NBC made to determine whether or not it was lawful to possess, display and broadcast this large capacity magazine as a means of fostering the public policy debate. Although there appears to have been some misinformation provided initially, 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 federal official. While you argue that some NBC employees subjectively felt uncertain as to whether its planned actions were lawful or not, we do not believe such uncertainty was justified and we note that NBC has now acknowledged that its interpretation of the information it received was incorrect.
No one at NBC is spilling the beans about phone calls made to Friends in High Places. But there is that picture at the top of this post featuring Mr. Nathan and Mr. Gregory’s wife closerthanthis at a charity event. Connect the dots. [h/t SS]