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DOJ won’t prosecute Colbert show staff after illegal entry arrests, Capitol police say

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A lady takes a photograph of the marquee for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on the Ed Sullivan Theater in Manhattan, Recent York.

Andrew Kelly | Reuters

Federal prosecutors on Monday declined to prosecute a gaggle of individuals related to Stephen Colbert’s late-night talk show who were arrested on charges of unlawfully entering a congressional office constructing, U.S. Capitol Police said.

The group of nine people related to CBS’ “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” were arrested last month for ignoring instructions stick with a staff escort while contained in the constructing, police said in a press statement.

“Members of the group had been told several times before they entered the Congressional buildings that that they had to stay with a staff escort contained in the buildings they usually didn’t achieve this,” the statement said.

They were there to film a segment for the show featuring Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, a vulgar, cigar-smoking hand puppet voiced and operated by comedian Robert Smigel that has appeared on late-night comedy shows for a long time.

“America Capitol Police was just informed the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia is declining to prosecute the case,” the police said.

“We respect the choice that office has made,” the department added.

The production team for Colbert’s show had scheduled interviews on Capitol Hill that were “authorized and pre-arranged through Congressional aides of the members interviewed,” Renata Luczak, vp of entertainment communications for CBS, said in an email to NBC News a day after the arrest on June 16.

On that evening, police said they responded to call for a disturbance within the Longworth House Office Constructing, where they found the group “unescorted and without Congressional ID, in a sixth-floor hallway.”

“The constructing was closed to visitors, and these individuals were determined to be a component of a gaggle that had been directed by the USCP to go away the constructing earlier within the day. They were charged with Illegal Entry,” the department said in a June 17 statement.

The arrests were made following a public hearing by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, when a violent mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the constructing, disrupting the transfer of power from Trump to President Joe Biden.

Some conservative critics, comparable to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, have attempted to attract comparisons between the late-night staffers and the Capitol rioters in an effort to suggest a double-standard in treatment by law enforcement.

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