Government lawyers announced that they would not prosecute a production crew associated with “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”. The crew members were arrested on charges of unlawful entry into a congressional building last month.
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The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia stated that prosecutors determined that it was untenable to proceed with misdemeanor charges against the nine people arrested at the Longworth Office Building on June 16. In other words, they will not face prosecution and now social media users are livid, posting tons of backlash online.
“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 U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia wrote in a statement.
“We do not believe it is probable that the Office would be able to obtain and sustain convictions on these charges,” said the office, noting that “the production team’s escort chose to leave them unattended.”
In a separate statement, Capitol Police claimed they have been working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and have been informed that the office is not prosecuting the nine individuals.
“We respect the decision that office has made,” Capitol Police said.
Last month, Capitol Police reported that arrests were made after the individuals “were repeatedly told before entering the Congressional buildings that they were to remain with a staff escort inside the buildings and they did not.”
At the time, a CBS spokeswoman, Renata Luczak, stated that the group had been on Capitol Hill for two days, conducting “authorized and pre-arranged” interviews with the help of congressional aides. After their final interview, the production team remained to film stand-ups as well as other final elements when they got detained by Capitol Police, Luczak said.
The host of the show Stephen Colbert offered comment on the arrests during a segment a few days after the incident. Colbert claimed his staff was “doing last-minute puppetry and wacky makeup in a hallway” when they got accosted and detained by the Capitol Police.
“The Capitol Police are much more cautious than they were say, 18 months ago and for a very good reason,” Colbert said. “The Capitol Police was just doing their job, my staff was just doing their job, everyone was very professional, [and] everyone was very calm. My staffers were detained, processed and released.”
That evening, police reported responding to a call for a disturbance in the Longworth House office building, where they found the group “unescorted and without a Congressional ID in a sixth floor hallway.”
“The building was 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. They were charged with Unlawful Entry,” the department said in a statement that was made public on June 17th.