“Bob’s Burgers” Actor Jay Johnston Pleads Guilty to Interfering with Police During U.S. Capitol Riot

The actor faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison over his involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol riots

<p>Neilson Barnard/Getty</p> Jay Johnston

Neilson Barnard/Getty

Jay Johnston

Jay Johnston, star of Bob’s Burgers and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, has pleaded guilty to a felony charge over his involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

On Monday, July 8, the actor, 55, pleaded guilty to civil disorder for obstructing the police as they attempted to protect the U.S. Capitol during the 2021 riots. He will be sentenced on Oct. 7 and faces a maximum of five years in prison, the District of Columbia attorney's office stated in a press release.

Johnston’s guilty plea comes after he was arrested and charged on June 7, 2023, for several other misdemeanors also relating to the riots, including unlawful trespassing and attempting to disrupt government business, according to a federal warrant previously obtained by PEOPLE.

On Jan. 6, 2021, Johnston joined a mob of rioters on the Lower West Plaza of the U.S. Capitol building by an area known as the "Tunnel," according to court documents, per the attorney’s office.

<p>Noel Vasquez/Getty</p> Jay Johnston

Noel Vasquez/Getty

Jay Johnston

Related: 'Bob's Burgers' Star Jay Johnston Charged in U.S. Capitol Attack

At around 2:40 p.m. local time, Johnston advanced towards the U.S. Capitol with the mob as “the barricades were removed by rioters, and the police were forced to retreat” and headed to the Lower West Terrace and onto the Inaugural Stage.

According to the attorney's office, at approximately 3:03 p.m., Johnston “made his way through the dense crowd” reaching the entryway to the Tunnel. He then “turned to face the crowd … and made a series of hand gestures, including pounding his fists together and pointing” before he “pushed his way into the Tunnel toward the police line.”

Johnston was then “handed a stolen U.S. Capitol police riot shield from a rioter” and joined the mob in making a “shield wall” as they pushed against the police line.

Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Jay Johnston was among the mob of rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021
Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Jay Johnston was among the mob of rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021

By 3:10 p.m., Johnston was "pushed back toward the Tunnel entrance by other rioters who were leaving," though he did not leave. Instead, he "pushed against the police inside the Tunnel." This caused an officer "to be crushed between the crowd and a door,” per the release. At 3:13 p.m., Johnston exited the Tunnel.

Johnston is a longtime actor and two-time Emmy-nominated comedy writer. The Chicago native voiced the character of Jimmy Pesto Sr. in Bob’s Burgers and has starred in many other shows, including Arrested Development, Better Call Saul, and Parks & Recreation.

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It was reported in late 2021 that Bob’s Burgers staff had “banned” Johnston from returning to the show after his alleged role in the U.S. Capitol attack, in which five people died.

In March 2021, the FBI tweeted images of Johnston asking the public for help in identifying him and other alleged rioters.

According to the federal warrant, the FBI discovered evidence of Johnston booking a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. during the week of the riot, arriving in the capitol on Jan. 4 and leaving on Jan. 7.

Johnston was allegedly also seen in footage entering the U.S. Capitol building’s west tunnel “assist[ing] at least three other rioters” before he “made his way further toward the police line and assisted other rioters in handing up U.S. Capitol Police shields.”

Over 1,000 people were charged with federal crimes for their alleged roles in the 2021 Capitol riots and many received sentences of imprisonment ranging from one week to 18 years, per the Associated Press.

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