Jul 18, 2022 - Politics & Policy

DOJ won’t prosecute "Late Show" staffers for Capitol trespassing

Robert Smigel

Actor and comedian Robert Smigel performs as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog in the hallways outside the Jan. 6 select committee hearing on June 16. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

The Department of Justice is declining to prosecute CBS' "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" crew members who were arrested for unlawful entry at the U.S. House office buildings last month.

Driving the news: The Capitol Police said in a statement on Monday that they were “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 statement said.
  • According to the Capitol Police, the staffers were arrested because they were “told several times before they entered the congressional buildings that they had to remain with a staff escort” but “failed to do so.”

What they're saying: The U.S. attorney's office told Axios in a statement that the crew members "were invited by congressional staffers to enter the building in each instance and were never asked to leave by the staffers who invited them."

  • "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," the statement said.
  • The office concluded that it "[does] not believe it is probable that the Office would be able to obtain and sustain convictions on these charges."

The backdrop: The staffers, including comedian Robert Smigel, the voice of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, were arrested on June 16 while filming a segment for the show outside a Jan. 6 select committee hearing.

  • "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert defended the staffers on his show days later, stating, "They went through security clearance, shot all day Wednesday, all day Thursday, invited into the offices of the congresspeople they were interviewing."
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