Watch CBS News

"Bob's Burgers" actor Jay Johnston arrested for role in Jan. 6 Capitol riot

"Bob's Burgers" actor Jay Johnston arrested for role in Jan. 6 Capitol riot
"Bob's Burgers" actor Jay Johnston arrested for role in Jan. 6 Capitol riot 00:32

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Jay Johnston, an actor and comedian from Chicago who was fired from his role on the popular cartoon "Bob's Burgers" after it came to light he'd participated in the Jan. 6 riot at the capitol, has been arrested in Los Angeles on federal charges connected to the attack on the capitol.

Johnston is facing charges of civil disorder, entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, and impeding passage through the Capitol grounds or buildings.

According to the charges, Johnson was caught on video as he pushed against police officers and "aided other rioters" near a Capitol entrance known as "the tunnel."

Jay Johnston was caught on video at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot. U.S. Attorney's Office

The footage shows Johnston confronting officers at the West Plaza of the Capitol shortly after 2 p.m. on Jan. 6, wearing a green camouflage neck gaiter and a dark leather jacket as he held up a cellphone to take pictures or video.

About 30 minutes later, more video footage showed him using his cellphone to take pictures or video of rioters attacking police officers near the steps of the Lower West Terrace tunnel.

Video footage of Jay Johnston near an entrance to the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot. FBI

Around 3 p.m., Johnston was caught on video walking up the steps towards the tunnel, signaling for other rioters to come to the entrance, before he and another rioter made hand signals to the crowd. Someone then handed him a bottle of water, which he passed on to a third rioter who used it to wash his eyes. Johnston then helped at least three other rioters by pouring water on their faces. Police deployed pepper spray and tear gas during the riot in an effort to disperse the crowd.

Around 3:05 p.m., Johnston could be seen moving towards the front line of rioters confronting police at the entrance of the Capitol, and helping rioters pass up stolen police shields to help form a shield wall and assault police defending the entrance.

The FBI says this surveillance video shows Jay Johnston helping use stolen police shields to form a wall to attack officers at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. FBI

The FBI later posted photos of Johnston at the Capitol and asked for the public's help identifying him. In March 2021, an attorney representing Johnston contacted the FBI, confirming he was the person in the pictures.

According to the charges, three current or former associates of Johnston also identified him in the photos, and one of them supplied the FBI with a text message from Johnston in which he admitted being at the riot.

"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 charges.

The most serious charge against Johnston carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Information was not immediately available regarding Johnston's first court appearance.

Jay Johnston attends the Comedy Central Emmy After Party at Falcon on September 20, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

According to published reports, Johnston was fired from his job voicing the character Jimmy Pesto Sr. on "Bob's Burgers" in December 2021, after he'd admitted to being at the Jan. 6 riot. He also has had roles on "Mr. Show with Bob and David," "Better Call Saul," "Arrested Development," and "Moral Orel."

A Chicago native, Johnston started his comedy career by doing improv at The Second City and Annoyance Theater in Chicago before moving to Los Angeles.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.