‘Late Show’ staffers won’t be prosecuted for Capitol Incident

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia announced on Monday that it will not move forward with charges against the staff of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” after nine people were arrested last month while filming a segment in the U.S. Capitol.

“After a comprehensive review of all of the evidence and the relevant legal authority, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia has determined that it cannot move forward with misdemeanor charges of unlawful entry against the nine individuals who were arrested on June 16, 2022, at the Longworth Office Building,” read a statement. 

“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,” a statement from the U.S. Capitol Police reads.

The group of producers – including comic Robert Smigel – was arrested on June 16, 2022, while filming a sketch focused on Smigel’s Triumph the Insult Comic Dog character. According to “The Late Show,” Triumph was filming interviews for the show that were “authorized and pre-arranged through Congressional aides of the members interviewed” on June 15 and June 16.

At the time, representatives for “The Late Show” said “the production team stayed to film stand-ups and other final comedy elements in the halls” following their last interview, at which point “they were detained by Capitol Police.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia noted that the Congressional staffers who initially invited the television crew never asked them to leave, though the U.S. Capitol Police did warn the group that they needed an escort.

“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 office’s statement continued. “We do not believe it is probable that the Office would be able to obtain and sustain convictions on these charges.”

Back in June, during a broadcast of “The Late Show,” host Stephen Colbert joked of the incident, “This was first-degree puppetry. This was hijinks with the intent to goof. Misappropriation of an old Conan bit.”

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