Nine employees of "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" will not be prosecuted for being in the U.S. Capitol building unescorted, The Hill reports.
"After a comprehensive review of all of the evidence and the relevant legal authority, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia has determined that it cannot move forward with misdemeanor charges of unlawful entry against the nine individuals who were arrested on June 16, 2022 at the Longworth Office Building," the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia said in a statement on Monday.
According to the statement, the crew was let in by congressional staffers and never asked to leave, so they were not there illegally. Their escort chose at some point to leave them on their own.
"The Office would be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that these invited guests were guilty of the crime of unlawful entry because their escort chose to leave them unattended. We do not believe it is probable that the Office would be able to obtain and sustain convictions on these charges,” the statement said.
The crew members will not have to appear in court later this month as previously scheduled.
The U.S. Capitol Police issued a statement saying, "The United States Capitol Police was just informed the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia is declining to prosecute the case. We respect the decision that office has made."
The crew was filming a segment for the long-running Triumph the Insult Comic Dog bit in which a puppet cigar-chomping dog insults interviews in the style of Don Rickles. Triumph is voiced and puppeteered by comic Robert Smigel, who began the bit on Conan O'Brien's show.
CBS previously stated that proper permissions were granted for the crew, and Colbert defended his team after they came under attack by some conservatives who compared their situation to the January 6 Capitol riot.
The Triumph crew was in Washington to cover the January 6 hearings.
Following the crew's arrests, GOP Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rodney Davis of Illinois sent a letter to Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger seeking information on the incident.
"These individuals were arrested and charged with unlawful entry after causing 'disturbances' at the offices of several Republican members, including 'banging' on their office doors," Jordan and Davis wrote.
"The individuals were originally in the Capitol Complex in connection with the activities of the January 6th Select Committee, but it is unclear whether the Select Committee had any involvement in or awareness of these individuals' planned harassment of Republican offices."
That night, Colbert said it was "shameful and grotesque" to compare his staff's actions to an "insurrection."
"An insurrection involves disrupting the lawful actions of Congress and howling for the blood of elected leaders, all to prevent the peaceful transfer of power," Colbert said. "This was first-degree puppetry. This was hijinks with intent to goof. Misappropriation of an old Conan bit."
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