MILLER: Prosecution rests in trial for D.C. man charged for one shotgun shell

Mark Witaschek faces six months in jail for unregistered ammunition but no gun

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The District of Columbia has finished presenting its case on why Mark Witaschek is a danger to society for possessing a single shotgun shell and muzzleloader sabots in his home. This outrageous legal battle shows how far unelected, anti-gun liberals will go to attempt to destroy a man’s life.

When Attorney General Irvin Nathan’s prosecutors rested on Tuesday, they established simply that Mr. Witaschek did not have a registered gun in the city, so he violated the firearms laws by having ammunition.

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Mr. Witaschek has never denied these charges, but has said that he didn’t know that inoperable ammunition was illegal. He also insists that his constitutional rights have been violated.

“The police and attorney general obviously have infringed upon my Second Amendment right to keep arms, or ammunition, or even the muzzleloaders borne by our Founding Fathers,” the father of three told me. “And they trampled on almost every other amendment to the Bill of Rights not only for me, but my entire family.”

(Click here to read part one in the series about the police raid of Mr. Witaschek’s home.)

The Trial

Right before the trial began, Mr. Nathan’s office dropped the charge from possession of unregistered ammunition to attempted possession.

It’s unclear how Mr. Witaschek could attempt to possess something that was in his home, but the facts aren’t the reason for the shift. The lesser charge carries a penalty of six months in jail, which means Mr. Witaschek was not eligible for the jury trial he wanted.

SEE ALSO: MILLER: D.C. arrests vet for unregistered ammunition (part 1)

Judge Robert Morin has listened almost impassively as the government put police officers on the stand to explain how they raided the business man’s house twice looking for guns. Mr. Witaschek is a gun owner and hunter, but has always kept his firearms at his sister’s home in Virginia.

In pre-trial hearings, Judge Morin threw out the first search in June 2012 because the cops neglected to get a warrant. However, he allowed the second search in July to be considered, even though the warrant was based on ammunition found in June.

The David Gregory Defense

Mr. Nathan is best known as the lenient prosecutor who let off NBC News’ David Gregory for openly and knowingly possessing an illegal 30-round magazine on live TV.

“Prosecutors determined that going after David Gregory for possession of an illegal ammunition magazine ‘would not promote public safety nor serve the best interests of the people of D.C.,’” Mr. Witaschek said, referring to the letter of explanation Mr. Nathan sent the lawyer for NBC and Mr. Gregory.  

“For my possession of a shotgun shell that misfired during a long ago hunt, why would that be any more of a danger to public safety?”

I asked Mr. Nathan’s spokesman Ted Gest why his boss declined to press charges against Mr. Gregory, but won’t relent on this case in which the defendant didn’t even know he was breaking the law.

Story Continues →

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