WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - May 13, 2013) - 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:
1. 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.
2. 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").
3. 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."