Anchorman and Bob’s Burgers actor Jay Johnston pleads guilty over Capitol riot

Anchorman and Bob's Burgers actor Jay Johnston pleads guilty over Capitol riot11d12820-3d51-11ef-8fde-611ebead6fc2.jpg

Comedian Jay Johnston, known for his roles in Anchorman and Bob’s Burgers, has pleaded guilty over his involvement in the 6 January US Capitol riot.

Mr Johnston admitted on Monday to a single count of obstructing officers during a civil disorder.

He will be sentenced in October and faces up to five years in federal prison.

More than 540 Capitol riot participants have served time behind bars.

Mr Johnston, 55, has acting credits in Hollywood going back to the mid-1990s.

He acted and wrote for all four seasons of HBO’s Mr Show with Bob and David, starred in all three seasons of Comedy Central’s The Sarah Silverman Program, and had a recurring role on the Fox sitcom Arrested Development.

Among the other films in which the Illinois native has starred are Men in Black II.

Internet sleuths identified him as a participant in the 6 January riot from a social media post by the FBI in March 2021.

Authorities have said he “participated with other rioters in a group assault” on police officers protecting a Capitol entrance and “helped carry a stolen police riot shield out”.

According to court documents, Mr Johnson also admitted to an acquaintance by text message that he had been there.

“The news has presented it as an attack. It actually wasn’t,” he wrote.

“Thought it kind of turned into that. It was a mess. Got maced and tear gassed and I found it quite untastic.”

That December, amid the allegations, Mr Johnston was fired from his role on animated series Bob’s Burgers.

He voiced fan-favourite character Italian restaurateur Jimmy Pesto. The character was recast in 2023 and returned to the show for its latest season.

Mr Johnston was arrested in California last summer and initially charged on four counts.

His plea agreement saw him admit to a single civil disorder charge while the other three offences were dropped.

His sentencing hearing is set for 7 October.

Nearly 1,500 people have been charged over their role in the violence that unfolded in Washington DC on 6 January 2021, according to the justice department.

Of those individuals, more than 800 have pleaded guilty to a variety of federal charges, from assaulting law enforcement to seditious conspiracy.

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