Nine staffers from CBS’ “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” were cleared of “unlawful entry” after the group was caught trespassing inside a House Office Building after hours last month.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said in a statement 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.”
“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, according to the New York Post.
The office asserted that it would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the “invited guests” were guilty of unlawful entry “because their escort chose to leave them unattended.”
The United States Capitol Police (USCP) refused to disclose the names of the Colbert staffers who were arrested, but according to Fox News, several producers from the show were involved, as well as comedian and writer Robert Smigel of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog fame.
The group initially sought permission to cover the Jan. 6 committee hearings but was denied by the House/Senate Radio TV Galleries because the program is entertainment, not news.
Police said Colbert’s staffers were found being “disruptive, loud” and “theatrical” near Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert’s office.
While the USCP said in a statement that they “respect the decision that office has made,” Fox News reported Capitol Police are upset that the charges were dropped, particularly because the “Colbert 9” were repeatedly told that they were not supposed to be there.
The decision further undermines Capitol Police authority in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol breach, a source close to the USCP told Fox.
Former President Donald Trump reacted to the U.S. Attorney’s decision on his social media platform Truth Social, suggesting the Colbert show’s “radical left lunatics” were treated more leniently than “American patriots” who trespassed on the Capitol grounds last year.
“Wow! Prosecutors have just dropped all charges against ratings challenged Colbert Show staffers, who entered the Capitol illegally, disregarded police warnings, wouldn’t leave the premises, and were very loud and disruptive late into the evening, with no security present as is mandated by law,” Trump wrote. “These Radical Left lunatics, from a failing show, were treated so differently than the Unselects are treating so many of our great American Patriots. NOT FAIR!”