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Colbert show staffers arrested at congressional building won't be prosecuted

Federal prosecutors were doubtful they could "obtain and sustain convictions" involving the nine people associated with "The Late Show" arrested on unlawful entry charges.
The Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill, on Dec. 9, 2021.
The Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill, on Dec. 9, 2021.Jacquelyn Martin / AP file

Government lawyers said Monday they will not prosecute a production crew associated with “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” that was arrested on unlawful entry charges inside a congressional building last month.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said prosecutors determined it was untenable to move forward with the misdemeanor charges against the nine people who were arrested at the Longworth Office Building on June 16.

"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 U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said in a statement.

"We do not believe it is probable that the Office would be able to obtain and sustain convictions on these charges," the office said, noting that the production crew's "escort chose to leave them unattended."

In a separate statement, Capitol Police said it had been working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and was informed that the office would not prosecute the nine individuals.

"We respect the decision that office has made," Capitol Police said.

Capitol Police last month said arrests were made after the individuals "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."

A spokesperson for CBS, Renata Luczak, said at the time that the group had been at the Capitol for two days, conducting interviews at that were "authorized and pre-arranged" with the help of congressional aides. After their final interview, the production team stayed to film stand-ups along with other final elements when they were detained by Capitol Police, Luczak said.

Show host Stephen Colbert commented on the arrests during a segment days after the incident. Colbert said his staff "were doing some last-minute puppetry and jokey make-em-ups in a hallway," when they were approached and detained by Capitol Police.

"The Capitol Police are much more cautious than they were say, 18 months ago and for a very good reason," Colbert said. "The Capitol Police was just doing their job, my staff was just doing their job, everyone was very professional, everyone was very calm. My staffers were detained, processed and released."

NBC News has reached out to CBS for comment.