Colbert Team, Triumph, Smigel Free From U.S. Capitol Prosecution
So if you were following our reporting last month, then you know that Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, his handler Robert Smigel (Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Conan O'Brien) & members of CBS' The Late Show with Stephen Colbert team were arrested by U.S. Capitol Police after taping a segment for the Stephen Colbert-hosted late-night talk show. Well, good news! Triumph, Smigel, and the rest of the team won't be getting prosecuted for the charge of being in the are without proper identification and escort. In a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C., a case couldn't be made because those who were arrested "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 Capitol Police that they were supposed to have an escort." For the office to be able to prosecute, "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 that it is probable that the office would be able to obtain and sustain convictions on these charges." "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," the Capitol Police responded in a statement.
"On Wednesday, June 15, and Thursday, June 16, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog was on-site at the Capitol with a production team to record interviews for a comedy segment on behalf of 'The Late Show," said a CBS spokesperson in a statement when the news first broke about the arrests. "Their interviews at the Capitol were authorized and pre-arranged through Congressional aides of the members interviewed. After leaving the members' offices on their last interview of the day, the production team stayed to film stand-ups and other final comedy elements in the halls when they were detained by Capitol Police." Now here's a look at some of the preliminary posts via Triumph's Twitter account of the team in Washington DC on Thursday, June 16th:
For their part, the U.S. Capital Police said in a statement that the group was confronted by police in the Longworth House Office Building at around 8:30 pm ET on Thursday night after the area was closed to visitors. "Responding officers observed seven individuals, unescorted and without 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," read the statement, along with confirmation from the USCP that the group was charged with unlawful entry. "This is an active criminal investigation, and may result in additional criminal charges after consultation with the U.S. Attorney," the statement continued. In this clip from 2020, distinguished journalist Triumph reported from Washington, D.C. amid unprecedented restrictions that were being placed on the access that the press was getting for President Trump's impeachment trial: