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Legal Insurrection and Judicial Watch file suit to obtain David Gregory gun law violation documents

Legal Insurrection and Judicial Watch file suit to obtain David Gregory gun law violation documents

Judicial Watch, a leading government open records organization, announced today that it has filed suit on behalf of Legal Insurrection to obtain documents regarding David Gregory’s violation of the District of Columbia gun laws and the investigation which led to the decision of the District of Columbia Attorney General not to prosecute:

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))….

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  If Gregory shouldn’t be prosecuted then no one should be – and the law should be rescinded.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.”

Longtime readers are aware of the background.

David Gregory famously was not prosecuted by District of Columbia Office of Attorney General (OAG) despite a clear violation of the D.C. gun law against possession of high-capacity ammunition magazines.

NBC News had been warned by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) not to use the magazine on air, but did it anyway.

Given that D.C. aggressively prosecutes even technical violations of the law by people not engaged in any other crime, this non-prosecution decision reeked of special treatment for a famous D.C. personality.  When it turned out that D.C. Attorney General Nathan Irvin once shared a stage with Gregory’s wife at a charity mock trial event, the optics were horrible.

In its letter explaining the decision not to prosecute, OAG released few details of how the magazine was obtained in the first place, which was a potential crime in itself, and ignored the complicity of NBC News personnel beyond Gregory in what arguably was a conspiracy to violate the D.C. gun laws.

With harsh gun laws spreading throughout many states and cities in the wake of the Newtown shooting, equal and fair application of the gun laws is an important public interest issue.

In order to shed light on this questionable handling of the case, days after the non-prosecution decision was announced Legal Insurrection served a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on OAG and MPD.

We were met with stonewalling and a widespread withholding and redaction of documents.  MPD in particular stalled producing anything until late April, far beyond its statutory deadline.

We did learn a few things from what was produced, including that NBC News clearly and unequivocally was told by MPD that possession of the magazine violated D.C. law.

Gregory OAG Email Dec 21 2012 NBC to MPD4

But the redactions were so severe in so many of the documents, that much of what happened was obscured.

We do know that a meeting was planned with NBC with arrangements to evade the public:

Gregory OAG Email Dec 272012 OAG to MPD

And that there were discussions with NBC’s counsel:

Gregory OAG Email Jan 9 2013 Lee Levine email attaching letter to AG

Important documents were withheld in their entirety, including the letter from Gregory’s attorney detailing the facts as to how the magazine was obtained and who was involved, and a Warrant and supporting Affidavit prepared by MPD which were not acted upon by OAG.

Gregory OAG Email Jan 7 2013 re presenting warrant

Given the widespread non-compliance with the FOIA request, we enlisted the help of Judicial Watch in filing suit to obtain compliance with FOIA.

We appreciate the help of Judicial Watch.

We will keep you informed.

Update:  Emily Miller uncovers D.C. AG “dirty tricks” in withholding David Gregory docs

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Comments

I find it amusing that there are still some people who think the RULE OF LAW applies in OBOZOLAND.

Excellent – this one stinks to high heaven. Of course somebody from the WH called Irvin … I wonder if the docs still exist to prove it.

“…this non-prosecution decision wreaked of special treatment…”

It stank, too…

Good job, Prof.! Keepa goin’!

Officer Friendly | May 13, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Professor-

If the investigation is closed, which usually MPD investigations are once an affidavit in support of a warrant is declined by the OAG or the USAO, then there’s a possibility that the records may be FOIA’d. If you do, you should request the PD-251 Initial Case Report for the offense (which is a public document), any PD-252 Supplementary Report (which are not public documents), and any PD-854s (Initial Case Resume) which are completed by Detectives (if this case was investigated by a Detective). You should additionally ask for:

1) Any and all Jencks material from the investigating officers. Officers are required to maintain their notebooks for at least three years. This may be rejected due to the fact that insofar as I know notebooks are not property of the department due to us having to purchase our own.
2) Any and all e-mails pertaining to this completed by members of the Narcotics and Special Investigations Division. It’s reasonable to believe that if the chief’s office kicked this to NSID then it went to the Gun Recovery Unit .
3) Additionally, each office (OAG and USAO) generally files a copy of any declined warrant and specifies general reasons why the warrant was declined in the review sheet.
4) Any PD-775 vehicle run sheets from any days which an investigation was conducted. This should help narrow down the investigator and/or the unit which investigated the offense. Technically when vehicles are used a run sheet should be completed, however this generally falls by the wayside in investigative units.
5) Any Office of Unified Communications GPS reports from the vehicles used by the investigators. Many if not most department vehicles are outfitted with GPS which reports back to the OUC.
6) Any phone records from the investigator if they have a department cell phone or desk phone.
7) Any and all e-mails from officials Lt. and above pertaining to this case. The scope should be from the day it occurred to the day of declination.

State and local governments are awful about complying with FOIA laws (including when their own state versions require even more openness) and open meetings laws. They seem to think the citizens job is to just “Sit down, shut up, let us run things because we know best.”

Unfortunately, 99% of these violations are just of private citizens’ rights, no media covers them, no non-profits intervene to assist enforcement of the law upon the Lawgivers.

In my own rural county, a fellow citizen requested to be informed how many employees of a given department earned over $50K the previous year. Not their names or positions, just the total number over that amount (there was a controversy over overtime abuse). The County informed him they would have to “research” the data @ $200 per hour, PLUS he would have to pay $200 per page for “copying” the results.

So when I hear sometimes of some small town council being invaded by an irate gunman who tries to shoot them all, I can understand where he may be coming from.

This is a THRILLING Development, Professor!

May The “F = M * A” be with you.

Thanks Bill…if the govorment decision prevents proscution of the perp, then proscute the DA

2nd Ammendment Mother | May 13, 2013 at 6:36 pm

I think the only thing that could make your day better was for Lizzie Warren to be involved in a “hit and run” accident with a buffalo!

Awesome. NOW we are activists.

[…] City is being sued over documents from David Gregory gun case (Legal Insurrection) […]

FOIA is weak. Seems like a better way would be for someone arrested in the past for similar violations to sue to have it overturned for violations of equal protection. In the context of that suit, all communications relating to both cases would be relevant.

[…] who do I give money to to make this […]

[…] William A. Jacobsen has been trying to find out why, and Judicial Watch announced last Monday “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)”, following D.C.’s stonewalling of Jacobsen’s earlier FOIA request. Godspeed! […]

[…] Legal Insurrection and Judicial Watch file suit to obtain David Gregory gun law violation documents Judicial Watch, a leading government open records organization, announced today that it has filed suit on behalf of Legal Insurrection to obtain documents regarding David Gregory’s violation of the District of Columbia gun laws and the investigation which led to the decision of the District of Columbia Attorney General not to prosecute […]

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