An actor best known for his roles in comedy TV shows ‘Bob’s Burgers’ and ‘Mr. Show with Bob and David’ was arrested on Wednesday on charges of joining a crowd of Donald Trump supporters to confront police during the United States Capitol Riotcourt records show.
Jay Johnston, 54, of Los Angeles, was arrested there for civil disorder, a felony. A federal magistrate agreed to release Johnston on $25,000 bond after his first appearance in California court. A public defender who represented him at the hearing declined to comment.
Video footage captured Johnston pushing against police and assisting rioters who attacked officers guarding an entrance to the Capitol in a tunnel on the Lower West Terrace, according to the affidavit of an FBI agent. Johnston held a stolen police shield above his head and passed it to other rioters during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, the affidavit says.
Johnston “was near the entrance to the tunnel, turned around and waved the other rioters toward the entrance,” the officer wrote.
Johnston was the voice of Jimmy Pesto’s character on Fox’s “Bob’s Burgers.” The Daily Beast reported in December 2021, Johnston was “banned” from the animated series after the January 6 attack.
Johnston appeared on “Mr. Show with Bob and David,” an HBO comedy sketch series starring Bob Odenkirk and David Cross. His credits also include small roles on the TV show “Arrested Development” and in the movie “Anchorman”, with Will Ferrell.
United Airlines records show Johnston booked a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Washington, DC, departing Jan. 4, 2021 and returning a day after the riot, according to the FBI. Thousands of people stormed the Capitol on January 6 after attending President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally.
As mobs attacked police in the tunnel with pepper spray and other weapons, Johnston helped other rioters near the tunnel pour water in their faces, then joined in the push against the line of officers, according to the FBI.
“The rioters coordinated the timing of the pushes by shouting ‘Heave! Oh! says the affidavit.
According to the agent, three current or former associates of Johnston identified him as a riot suspect from photos the FBI posted online. The FBI said one of those associates provided investigators with a text message in which Johnston acknowledged being at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“The news presented it as an attack. This was not the case. I thought it had turned into this. It was a mess. I was butchered and tear gassed and found it quite unpleasant,” Johnston wrote, according to the FBI.
More than 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes for their conduct on Capitol Hill on January 6. More than 500 of them were sentenced, more than half of them to prison terms ranging from seven days to 18 years, according to an Associated Press review of court records.
Associated Press reporter Krysta Fauria in Los Angeles contributed to this report.