The District of Columbia's Attorney General announced Friday night that he will not prosecute NBC host David Gregory for holding up a high-capacity magazine during an episode of Meet the Press on December 23. Gregory did violate a local law, but under prosecutorial discretion the A.G. won't go after him for it. Gregory displayed the magazine during his epic on-air interview of NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre, but even LaPierre's boss at the NRA thought the ensuing investigation, which concluded this week, was a little ridiculous. From the official letter A.G. Irvin B. Nathan's office sent to Gregory's bosses at NBC (emphasis ours):
Influencing our judgment in this case, among other things, is our recognition that the intent of the temporary possession and short display of the magazine was to promote the First Amendment purpose of informing an ongoing public debate about firearms policy in the United States, especially while this subject was foremost in the minds of the public following the previously mentioned events in Connecticut and the President's speech to the nation about them.
To sum up: Gregory's status as a member of the press — "to promote the First Amendment purpose of informing an ongoing public debate" — swayed the Attorney General in his decision. The A.G. isn't just absolving, but in fact defending Gregory's violation of what it calls "an important law" on the grounds that Gregory was doing so in service of the debate over gun violence that followed the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. This will certainly lighten the mood of Howard Kurtz ("Gregory had no intent to commit a crime; he was committing journalism instead.") but only further enrage those who thought, and not wrongfully, that they had caught Gregory in his own hypocrisy.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.