I understand that, live on television, the actor Will Smith physically assaulted the comedian Chris Rock in response to a joke about Smith's wife. https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-60897004

Rock is not pressing charges.

In US law, would it theoretically be possible for someone else (or some body/corporation) to press charges on behalf of the public?

1 Answer 1



The Prosecutor for the local jurisdiction could formally file charges. No complaint by Rock is legally required, and given the video evidence available, Rock's testimony might not be as essential as a victim's testimony often is.

But if Rock were to testify that the fight was staged, and no real assault occurred, the case would probably fall apart. That would not be good for the prosecutor's reputation, and might well be a reason not to proceed without a clear statement from Rock.

See also: "Pressing charges" - is it needed to bring a charge?

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