Federal prosecutors said late Monday that they’d not prosecute staff members of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” who were arrested last month at the USA Capitol complex on charges of illegal entry.
When members of a production team for the CBS show were arrested on June 16, they’d been filming a segment featuring Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, a cigar-chomping canine puppet that’s voiced by the comedian Robert Smigel, who was amongst those arrested. Mr. Colbert later said on his show that they were guilty of “high jinks with intent to goof.”
The arrests, in a hallway of the Longworth House Office Constructing, were notable partially because they occurred soon after Congress began holding televised hearings into the Jan. 6, 2021 attack, during which supporters of President Donald J. Trump violently stormed the Capitol complex.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said in a temporary statement on Monday that it will not move forward with misdemeanor charges against the nine people arrested by the Capitol Police since the case wasn’t strong enough.
The crew members had been invited to enter the constructing on two separate occasions by congressional staff who never asked them to go away, although the Capitol Police did tell some members of the group that they were alleged to have an escort, the statement said.
In an effort to sustain convictions on charges of illegal entry, prosecutors would must prove beyond an affordable doubt that “these invited guests were guilty of the crime of illegal entry because their escort selected to go away them unattended,” it said.
“We don’t consider it’s probable that the office would have the ability to acquire and sustain convictions on these charges,” the statement said, adding that the defendants wouldn’t be required to attend a court hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
The statement didn’t say whom the production team had visited on the Longworth House Office Constructing. Mr. Colbert said on his show that the team had been invited to interview Democratic and Republican members of Congress in regards to the Jan. 6 hearings.
Spokespeople for the Justice Department and CBS didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment overnight.
After the arrests last month, the Fox News host Tucker Carlson said that the “Late Show” producers had committed “revolt.” Mr. Colbert said just a few days later that such criticism amounted to a “shameful and grotesque insult” to the memory of those that died within the Jan. 6 attack.
“But who knows,” he joked on his show, “perhaps there was an enormous conspiracy to overthrow the federal government of the USA with a rubber Rottweiler.”
Glenn Thrush contributed reporting.