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It’s been two months since D.C. Attorney General Irv Nathan decided not to prosecute Meet the Press host David Gregory for possessing an illegal, unloaded ammunition magazine on Gregory’s NBC show. But in a previously unreleased document, Meet the Press‘ lawyer admits what police have been claimed all along—-that the network was advised not to bring the magazine into D.C.
In his Jan. 11 decision to not pursue charges, Nathan cites a Jan. 9 letter from Lee Levine, the attorney representing Meet the Press. (Levine’s firm, Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, has also represented Washington City Paper.) In that letter, obtained by City Desk through a Freedom of Information Act request, Levine acknowledges that the Metropolitan Police Department told the network not to use the magazine on the show.
“The MPD advised that DC law prohibits the possession of a high capacity magazine and suggested the program instead use a photograph,” Levine writes.
But NBC didn’t use a photograph. Instead, Meet the Press employees misinterpreted MPD’s statement and additional advice from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, according to Levine. Gregory used the magazine as a prop during a contentious Dec. 23 interview with National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre a little more than a week after the Newtown school massacre.
In his letter, Levine claims that Gregory and Meet the Press thought that the magazine would be OK as long as it wasn’t attached to a gun. NBC didn’t respond to a request for comment about the letter.