Inauguration Day Riot Charges Against RT Reporter, Two Other Journalists Dropped

Capitol Building Washington D.C. Exterior - H 2011
Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

Capitol Building Washington D.C. Exterior - H 2011

Kremlin-backed English-language network said it applauds the decision.

U.S. federal prosecutors have dropped charges against three journalists who were arrested during protests against the inauguration of President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, including RT reporter Alexander Rubinstein.

"After a review of evidence presented to us by law enforcement, we have concluded that we will not proceed with the charges against the three defendants, who are journalists," a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney General’s office was quoted as saying by The Washington Times.

RT, a Kremlin-backed English-language network, welcomed the decision.

"We applaud the U.S. attorney [general's] decision to drop the charges against Alexander Rubinstein," RT said in a statement on its website. "Journalists must be allowed to do their jobs without fear of recriminations from law enforcement or the government, rights enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution."

RT maintains that Rubinstein was wearing his press credentials and identified himself as a journalist when he was arrested.

The other two reporters, charges against whom were dropped Monday, are independent journalist Matthew Hopard and John Keller, identified by The Washington Times as also being a RT reporter, although the network has never mentioned that he works for it.

Charges against another reporter detained on Inauguration Day, Evan Engel of Vocativ, were dropped Friday.

More than 200 people were arrested by D.C. police Jan. 20 and charged with felony rioting. Six individuals in that group were later identified as reporters and released Jan. 21.

RT and Russia's foreign ministry condemned the charges against Rubinstein.