David Gregory will walk away from the crime he committed in front of hundreds of thousands of witnesses because he has friends in high places. Maybe it is an admission that the law is pointless but if you or I were caught in DC with a high capacity magazine we would be arrested and imprisoned.
According to District of Columbia Attorney General Irvin Nathan, David Gregory will not be prosecuted “despite the clarity of the violation of this important law”.
In other words, there’s no question that Gregory broke the law. It just doesn’t matter because he’s a nice guy and they like him.
I wonder how many people who’ve been arrested for violating DC’s gun laws — which the cops didn’t even bother to do with Gregory — have gotten away with it because they don’t have a criminal record and they express the correct opinions? Does that particular law say anything about whether or not you’re a threat to public safety? Or does it say you’re not allowed to possess a certain object? Either you possess it or you don’t. Gregory did. It was on TV and everything. He made sure people saw him wave an illegal ammunition magazine in Wayne LaPierre’s face.
David Gregory and his wife Beth Wilkinson, a partner at the law firm Paul Weiss just happen to be good friends with Attorney General Irvin Nathan. The Attorney General should have recused himself at a minimum for the sake of appearances but mostly because this decision stinks of cronyism.
As I thought about it some more, I reached the conclusion that the issue of recusal mattered. We don’t know the extent of the interaction between Nathan and David Gregory and his wife, but we do know of at least one event when Nathan and Gregory’s wife, with Gregory in attendance, shared a stage.
If I were in that position, having interacted socially with the subject of the potential prosecution and his wife, even if only once, I would have felt uncomfortable as to whether I could make a truly impartial decision whether to prosecute.
To me what is most troubling is not that Gregory was not prosecuted, it’s that the average person likely would not have been treated the same way. That isn’t an issue of recusal, but it is what the controversy is all about.
The Metropolitan Police Department in conjunction with the Attorney General’s office certainly has not been shy about prosecuting people in the past for violations like the one David Gregory could have been charged with.
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 OAG charged 15 of those people in cases that included a “high-capacity feeding device or extended clip.”
Ted Gest, the OAG’s spokesman, explained that, “This does not mean that the 105 arrests were presented to us and we charged only 15. Most of the arrests never made it to us — MPD either didn’t bring them to us or brought them to the U.S. Attorney.”
One of the 15 charged was James Brinkley, an Army veteran and federal employee, who was arrested and jailed while legally transporting his unloaded Glock 22 to the range with the two standard 15-round magazines that came with the pistol.
D.C. Assistant Attorney General Rachel Bohlen offered Mr. Brinkley a deal to plead guilty to possession of an unregistered firearm in return for unsupervised probation. He refused to falsely admit guilt.
“I hadn’t done anything wrong,” he told me in an interview. “I felt in my heart I was doing the right thing. I was going to stand up, no matter what the outcome would be.”
In fact, Mr. Nathan wrote in his letter about letting off Mr. Gregory: “We have a history of aggressively prosecuting violations of this statute where the circumstances warrant. There is no doubt of the gravity of the illegal conduct in this matter,especially in a city and a nation that have been plagued by carnage from gun violence.”
To add more to the sordid tale about how people like David Gregory with friends in high places get favorable treatment, Politico seemed to provide very little coverage of this major story. Coincidentally, Meet The Press executive producer Elizabeth Discher Martin happens to be married to Politico senior political reporter Jonathan Martin.
The biggest story within Beltway media circles the past few weeks has been the DC investigation into Gregory brandishing an illegal, 30 round magazine on Meet the Press to attempt to embarrass NRA Chairman Wayne LaPierre. But, if Politico is your sole source of news (God forbid), you’d barely even know it was a controversy at all.
The beltway political rag gave glancing coverage of the story through media analyst Dylan Byers’ blog, and from the beginning, his coverage was to downplay and mock the story as an invention of “right-wing bloggers and pundits” looking for a story over the holidays: