After the letter was released, Legal Insurrection discovered that Attorney General Nathan had participated in a mock trial event at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C. in April 2011 with Beth Wilkinson, the wife of David Gregory (who also was in attendance).
That raised the question as to whether there was any more extensive professional or social relationship, and whether the Attorney General should have recused himself from Gregory’s criminal investigation.
Former federal prosecutor William G. Otis wrote that that one event was enough to make recusal the better path given the nature of the case and the potential defendant, a position with which Paul Mirengoff agrees.
On Monday of this week I reached out to Attorney General Irvin, through his press spokesman Ted Gest, with the following questions:
1. To what extent did the Attorney General know the Gregories? We know the Attorney General and Mrs. Gregory (Beth Wilkinson) participated together in a mock trial at the Shakespeare Theater in April 2011. Did he have any other personal or professional interactions?
2. Did the Attorney General ever consider recusing himself from the decision whether to prosecute? If yes, why did he not recuse himself?
Gest’s response, received today, was:
Mr. Nathan is not a friend of the Gregories and has had no business or social connections with him. He did not take part in any event with Mrs. Gregory other than the one you mentioned. This was not a reason to recuse himself from the recent ammunition magazine matter, on which we fully explained our decision in a letter last Friday.
I followed up, just to make clear
Just to clarify, other than that one event, Mr. Nathan never met or had any dealings with either of the Gregories?
To which Gest responded:
No other involvement with Mrs. Gregory than that one event and he has no business or social connections with them.
So no dealings with them. I can’t absolutely say they “never met.”
There you have it. Absent some other revelation, the Shakespeare Theater charity mock trial appears to be the extent of the interaction between Attorney General Nathan and the Gregories.
I stand by my position as to what I would have done:
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. Even if I felt I could, I would have worried how it would be perceived by the public if a photo of the event like this one came out: