The crew members from The Late Show With Stephen Colbert who were arrested on June 16 on suspicion of unlawful entry in a US Capitol building will not be charged.
The US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia is declining to prosecute the case, Capitol Police said in a statement to BuzzFeed News Monday.
“The individuals, who entered the building on two separate occasions, were invited by Congressional staffers to enter the building in each instance and were never asked to leave by the staffers who invited them, though, members of the group had been told at various points by the U.S. Capitol Police that they were supposed to have an escort,” the statement read. “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 crew members were at the Capitol to record interviews with members of Congress for a segment featuring Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, a puppet voiced by comedian Robert Smigel. The interviews had been approved by aides for the members of Congress, but after the last interview, crew members stayed in the building to film stand-ups in the hallways. Officers then arrested nine people, police said on Monday. (Initial reports said seven people were arrested.)
At the time of the arrests, Capitol Police said in a statement to BuzzFeed News that they received a call about a disturbance at 8:30 p.m. June 16 in the Longworth House Office Building. Officers saw seven people “unescorted and without congressional ID” in the hallway of the building while it was closed to visitors.
The crew members had been directed to leave earlier that day, police said.
Republicans, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson, have tried to make comparisons to the crew members’ arrests to those of the Jan. 6 insurrection, even though The Late Show crew members were not carrying weapons, were not violent, and the alleged unlawful entry did not end in any damage or deaths.
The US Attorney’s Office and CBS did not immediately respond to questions from BuzzFeed News.