Charges have been dropped against nine members of The Late Show staff, which includes the comedian Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, who were arrested for ‘unlawfully’ being at the Capitol last month.
The group had been invited to the Capitol by congressional aides to record interviews for a comedy segment for The Late Show on June 16.
But they were arrested by Capitol Police after they were found – without their escort – filming stand-up and skits in halls following their final authorized and pre-arranged interviews of the day.
On Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s office confirmed they would not be moving forward with the case.
‘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 federal prosecutor said.
The feds said that they ‘wouldn’t have been able to obtain and sustain convictions on these charges.’
The Capitol Police said in their own statement that: ‘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.’
Robert Smigel performs as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog in the hallways outside the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol hearing in the Cannon House Office Building
Colbert pictured with senior producer Jake Plunkett, who was among those arrested
Many of the January 6 rioters have been convicted of illegal parading, but others have faced more grievous charges, like assault on officers, interstate threats and seditious conspiracy
Capitol Police said previously that they had arrested the group ‘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.’
Among the arrestees was Robert Smigel, best known for his character Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
Smigel, 62, who is a frequent guest on Colbert’s CBS show.
The move to drop the charges has infuriated conservatives who believe its proof of the Justice Department’s double standard when it comes to holding liberals accountable.
On Fox News’s Jesse Watters Primetime, the host suggested the comedians team skated on the charges because of partisan bias.
‘The person responsible for dropping the charges was the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Matthew Graves, who was appointed by Joe Biden and works for the Attorney General. It turns out that he’s also the prosecutor investigating January 6th. Is he giving those guys the same treatment,’ Watters asked.
At least 876 people have been charged over the January 6 riot which left seven dead and saw crowds siege the Capitol.
Ned Ryun, who runs American Majority, a conservative organization that trains candidates, called the move, ‘unbelievable hypocrisy by Graves.’
He said that more than 200 people have been charged with the petty offense of illegal parading, a misdemeanor.
‘They walked through open doors, in front of police [and] were not asked to leave, yet Graves has recommended sentencing of 60 to 90 days in jail,’ Ryun said. ‘We have a bifurcated legal system in this country in which if you have the wrong political views or the wrong political connections, you have the book thrown at you.’
He said that this breaches a ‘fundamental, foundational aspect of the law.’
‘We all stand equal before the law, the law is equally applied, but when the law becomes a political tool to punish political enemies, all bets are off,’ he said.
Aside from the illegal parading charge that Ryun mentioned, January 6 rioters have been convicted of sedition, obstructing an official proceeding, assaulting officers with weapons, interstate threats and other charges.
Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes and Proud Boys boss Enrique Tarrio have been charged with seditious conspiracy, a lesser counterpart to treason, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years.
Kingpin actor Randy Quaid waded into the partisan debate.
‘Colbert Crew charges dropped who were doing the exact same thing as J6 hostages. DISGUSTING. Free the J6 hostages. Colbert makes me ill,’ the actor tweeted.
‘Stephen Colbert is the Tokyo Rose of the Democratic Party,’ he added, referring to the Japanese propagandist who tried to demoralize American troops with her radio broadcasts during World War II.
Other Republicans also expressed outrage over the decision.
‘One set of rules for Republicans. Another for Liberals,’ Twitter user Mike Honcho wrote.
Another Twitter user added: ‘The unselect committee is still playing their game this very moment while some liberals who did the same thing (entered illegally and unarmed) just got away with it.’
Fox News congressional reporter Chad Pergram tweeted that: ‘Sources close to the Capitol Police tell Fox this undercuts law enforcement as they try to secure the Capitol complex after the riot.’
On Monday, Colbert dismissed the comparisons between the arrests and the January 6 riot as a ‘non-surrection’ and joked that Triumph the Insult Comic Dog should be charged with ‘first degree puppetry.’
Colbert staffer Nicoletta Green was among those arrested. She has worked on the show since September 2020
Prop coordinator Brendan Hurley has been with Colbert since the host’s Comedy Central show, ‘The Colbert Report’
During an appearance on Fox News, Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill) said the group was banging on the doors of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Cal).
They were arrested outside the door of Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO).
The Republican lawmakers did not comment on the decision not to prosecute.
The MailOnline previously reported that the Smigel and his crew were trying to cage interviews in the Cannon House Office Building without the proper press credentials.
In addition to the comic, senior producer Jake Plunkett, associate producer Allison Martinez, prop master Brendan Hurley, comedian Josh Comers, writer and comedian David Feldman and crewmembers Tyrone Dean, Stephen Romond, Nicoletta Green were also arrested.
Colbert’s crew were filming outside the offices of GOP reps Kevin McCarthy, left, who’s the House Minority Leader and Lauren Boebert. It’s unclear what they were doing, but it may be related to the ongoing January 6 riot hearings being held at Congress