On June 16, in an incident that bore some legal similarities to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021, nine people associated with late-night comedian Stephen Colbert’s program were arrested by U.S. Capitol Police for “unlawful entry” into the Capitol complex and for roaming the halls of Congress without an authorized escort.
Now, in an infuriating but entirely unsurprising announcement, the Justice Department revealed that it would not move forward with the prosecution against any of those arrested individuals on Colbert’s team, the Daily Wire reported.
The Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia stated its belief that it would be unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any crime had actually been committed — despite ample evidence of such — and as such would not make any effort to prosecute the alleged misdemeanor crimes.
No prosecutions against Colbert’s team
“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,” a statement issued Monday said.
“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,” the statement continued, “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 statement added. Given all of that, the defendants were “no longer required to appear” for a scheduled July 20 hearing in D.C. Superior Court on those charges.
U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia “cannot move forward with misdemeanor charges of unlawful entry against” members of Stephen Colbert’s staff and crew arrested June 16, saying they were “never asked to leave by the staffers who invited them.” pic.twitter.com/d77sVbB88k
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) July 18, 2022
Immediately after that announcement of non-prosecution was made by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Capitol Police issued a statement of its own as a reminder that “The USCP arrested nine people for Unlawful Entry charges because members of the group had been told several times before they entered the Congressional buildings that they had to remain with a staff escort inside the buildings and they failed to do so.”
“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,” the press release added. “We respect the decision that office has made.”
Why they were arrested and charged in the first place
As for what initially led to those arrests on June 16, Fox News congressional correspondent Chad Pergram posted a lengthy tweet thread outlining how the Colbert team had been denied press credentials for the House Jan. 6 Committee hearings but had been invited in by Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA) to interview certain committee members, after which they left the building.
They were, however, allowed back in later in the evening by an Auchincloss aide who then apparently allowed the Colbert crew to roam the halls of Congress unattended and in violation of the rules, and that team was then arrested hours later outside the office of Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and charged with unlawful entry.
The really infuriating part of this whole thing is that there are numerous Jan. 6 defendants who are facing the full weight of DOJ prosecution for essentially the exact same crime — unlawfully entering the Capitol complex and moving about without an escort — which just further confirms that this DOJ is grossly and hypocritically politicized and exercises a decidedly un-American two-tiered system of justice that favors one ideology while suppressing another.