Bob’s Burgers actor pleads guilty to interfering with police at Capitol riot

An actor who voiced a pizzeria owner in the animated television sitcom Bob’s Burgers has pleaded guilty to interfering with police officers trying to protect the US Capitol.

Jay Johnston, 55, of Los Angeles, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison after pleading guilty to civil disorder, a felony.

US District Judge Carl Nichols is scheduled to sentence Johnston on October 7.

Johnston, who was arrested last June, is one of more than 1,400 people charged with federal crimes stemming from the January 6 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

Video footage captured Johnston pushing against police and helping rioters who attacked officers guarding an entrance to the Capitol in a tunnel on the Lower West Terrace, according to an FBI agent’s evidence.

The evidence also says that Johnston held a stolen police shield over his head and passed it to other rioters during the attack.

Johnston “was close to the entrance to the tunnel, turned back and signalled for other rioters to come towards the entrance,” the FBI agent claimed.

Johnston was the voice of the character Jimmy Pesto on Fox’s Bob’s Burgers. The Daily Beast reported in 2021 that Johnston was “banned” from the animated show after the Capitol attack.

Johnston appeared on Mr Show with Bob and David, an HBO sketch comedy series that starred Bob Odenkirk and David Cross. His credits also include small parts on the television show Arrested Development and in the movie Anchorman, starring Will Ferrell.

A court filing accompanying Johnston’s plea agreement says he used his mobile phone to record rioters as they broke through barricades and sent police officers retreating.

After passing the stolen shield, Johnson joined other rioters in collectively pushing against police officers guarding the tunnel entrance.

He left the tunnel minutes later, according to the agreement signed by Johnston.

Three current or former associates of Johnston identified him as a riot suspect from photos that the FBI published online, according to the agent.

The FBI said one of those associates provided investigators with a text message in which Johnston acknowledged being at the Capitol on January 6.

“The news has presented it as an attack. It actually wasn’t. Thought it kind of turned into that. It was a mess. Got maced and tear gassed and I found it quite untastic,” Johnston wrote, according to the FBI.

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