A decision by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., has conservative critics crying foul.
The attorney’s office announced late Monday that no charges will be filed against nine members of late-night TV host Stephen Colbert’s program after they were arrested last month for trespassing at the U.S. Capitol Building, despite hundreds of people having been arrested — and prosecuted — for a similar offense following the Jan. 6 riot.
A statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said:
“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.
“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 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 defendants no longer will be required to appear for a scheduled hearing in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on July 20, 2022.”
The United States Capitol Police (USCP) released a statement saying they “respect the decision that office has made” and referred any questions about the decision to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, Fox News .
“Fox News is told the Capitol Police are upset about the decision to drop the charges, especially since the Colbert 9 were told on multiple occasions they weren’t supposed to be there,” the network added.
“Sources close to the Capitol Police also tell Fox this undercuts law enforcement as they try to secure the Capitol complex after the riot,” the report continued.
Colbert’s staffers were arrested by U.S. Capitol Police who were responding to reports that they were in an area where U.S. House members’ offices are located without proper authorization.
The group of seven people were arrested in the Longworth House Office Building after being escorted out of the Jan. 6 committee hearing earlier in the day because they did not have proper press credentials.
The nine individuals who were allegedly arrested included Jake Plunkett, Allison Martinez, Tyrone Dean, Stephen Romond, Nicoletta Green, Brendan Hurley, Robert Smigel, Josh Comers, and David Feldman.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson said at the time that Colbert’s staffers should be treated exactly like Jan. 6 protesters who also were arrested for simple trespass have been treated.
“We learned that last night producers for Stephen Colbert’s show on CBS committed insurrection at the United States Capitol,” Carlson started off the segment. “The point of them being there was to harass sitting members of Congress — Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert.”
The Fox News host said the Colbert staffers were “charged with unlawful entry into the Capitol complex — now that’s the exact same charge that many January 6 defendants face.”
“We’ll just get right to it: It’s likely that some members of Stephen Colbert’s team will be held in solitary confinement for a year and a half without being charged,” he said mockingly. “Why? Because this is an insurrection.”
“Joking aside,” Carlson continued, “how could they not be held for a year and half in solitary confinement without being charged? Because the precedent is in place. And how in the world can Adam Schiff, again, who spent the last year and a half eliminating the civil liberties of Trump voters on the basis of January 6, do the exact same thing and not face punishment?”