Roughly a year ago Irvin Nathan the Attorney General for Washington DC, let David Gregory from NBC off without even as much as a warning for possessing a “high capacity magazine,” which is illegal there. If you remember, Gregory brought a 30 round magazine onto his show to demonstrate what was and wasn’t illegal in the district. There was some noise made about it but ultimately Gregory wasn’t charged because Nathan decided that prosecuting him wouldn’t be in the interest of public safety.
Well Mr. Whitaschek, a businessman from DC, isn’t going to be the beneficiary of such prosecutorial discretion from Mr. Nathan, who has decided to prosecute him for the possession of inoperable ammunition, after trying for nearly a year and a half to peg him for “unregistered ammunition” after a warrantless search turned up a box of rifle ammunition.
Mr. Whitaschek is a successful financial planner, hunter, and gun owner without any type of criminal background. He’s always kept his guns in the next state over at his sisters house in Virginia to avoid trouble, however if convicted he’ll face a year in jail plus a $1,000 fine for a single shotgun shell that won’t even fire, stupid right? He trial is scheduled to start on February 11, 2014.
After numerous angry calls from his ex wife who claimed he had firearms in the house, the police raided his rented Georgetown home twice in 2012. They didn’t find anything, of course, but out of frustration they handcuffed Mr. Whitaschek and searched his house top to bottom in an effort to find something, anything that would make their time worthwhile. The searches turned up a box of ammunition, a box of sabots for a muzzle loaded firearm, and a single shotgun shell that had already had the primer struck and was useless at that point.
In DC ammunition carries the same penalties as firearms do.
After 2 pre-trial hearings, Judge Robert Morin gave prosecutors until early January in order to come up with a reason to justify the first time they raided the home without a warrant. However since they couldn’t they offered Whitaschek a deal and give him probation if he would plead guilty to the charges, which he declined. The judge would then throw out the items seized from that raid, the box of ammo and the sabots.
“I believe that some in the prosecution and police apparatus know what they did and are trying to continue this charade to cover their tracks,” said Whitschek in the interview“ If I am proven a ‘criminal,’ then their bad acts are covered. If not, they are liable.” Which I would agree with since now prosecutors are pushing hard for the second charge of unregistered ammunition for the shotgun shell he kept as a souvenir from deer hunting years back.
The prosecutors have since offered him another “deal” in which he would have to plead guilty to “attempted possession of ammunition,” which he declined since it would still carry a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail.