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1 Feb, 2024 19:33

No charges expected in US Senate sex-tape scandal

An investigation of the ex-staffer who shared a video of himself performing lewd acts in a hearing room has been closed, Capitol Police have said
No charges expected in US Senate sex-tape scandal

US Capitol Police have declined to make any arrests over a video posted late last year on social media showing a congressional staffer having gay sex in a Senate hearing room.

A “comprehensive investigation” into sex tape has been closed following consultations with federal and local prosecutors, Capitol Police said on Thursday in a statement. “It was determined that, despite a likely violation of congressional policy, there is currently no evidence that a crime was committed,” police added.

The video was circulated online in December, apparently showing a staffer for Senator Ben Cardin performing lewd acts in the Hart Senate Office Building. The scene played out in a room that has hosted such historical events as hearings for US Supreme Court nominations and the 9/11 Commission.

The staffer was fired or resigned under pressure amid political fallout from the tape. Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, said he was angered by the incident, which he called a “breach of trust.” Georgetown University law professor Jonathan Turley suggested at the time that the men shown having sex in the video could face charges for trespassing, indecent exposure, and misuse of public property.

Capitol Police said that although the hearing room was closed to the public at the time the video was shot on December 13, the Senate staffer had access to it through his job. However, Turley noted that even if the employee had lawful access, “the question is whether this unofficial use would constitute trespass. It also uses an official area for personal purposes, though it is not clear if there were any commercial benefits garnered from the video found on various sites.”

Reacting to the decision against pressing charges on Thursday, Turley quipped, “While many view Congress as an often obscene display, it appears that the line between porn and politics is not found in the criminal code.”

The men shown in the video refused to cooperate with investigators, Capitol Police said. The ex-staffer invoked his constitutional right to remain silent. “Our investigators are willing to review new evidence should any come to light,” the police added.