Federal prosecutors won’t pursue unlawful entry case against ‘Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ production team

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“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,” US Capitol Police said in a Monday statement.

At the time of the incident, which occurred at the Longworth House Office Building, US Capitol Police said in a statement that officers had “observed seven individuals, unescorted and without Congressional ID, in a sixth-floor hallway.” The building, USCP said at the time, had been closed to visitors, “and these individuals were determined to be a part of a group that had been directed by the USCP to leave the building earlier in the day.”

On Monday, USCP said that officers “arrested nine people for Unlawful Entry charges because members of the group had been told several times before they entered the Congressional buildings that they had to remain with a staff escort inside the buildings and they failed to do so.”

CBS issued a statement in June that said its crew was at the Capitol for two days as it filmed a segment featuring “Triumph the Insult Comic Dog,” a puppet voiced by the comedian Robert Smigel. CBS said that its production team’s interviews with members of Congress had been “authorized and pre-arranged” and that the production team “stayed to film stand-ups and other final comedy elements in the halls when they were detained by Capitol Police.”

Following the incident, right-wing media outlets sought to link Democrats to what they said was a security violation and attacked the House select committee’s investigation into the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

Colbert responded to the arrests during his show in June by saying that the US Capitol Police were just doing their job, as was his staff, and that everyone was “very professional” and “very calm.”

“A fairly simple story until the next night when a couple of the TV people started claiming that my puppet squad had ‘committed insurrection at the US Capitol building,'” he said at the time. “First of all… what? Second of all… huh?”

CNN’s Whitney Wild, Oliver Darcy and Frank Pallotta contributed to this report.

July 19, 2022 at 08:42AM

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