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DOJ charges 'Arrested Development' actor Jay Johnston with involvement in Jan. 6 riot

Jay Johnston, an actor who appeared in such shows as Arrested Development and Bob's Burgers, was arrested in California on Wednesday and faces charges in connection to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

According to court documents, Johnston, 54, allegedly helped pour water on the faces of rioters who had been pepper sprayed by law enforcement and was seen carrying a stolen shield that belonged to U.S. Capitol Police. The documents, which reference video and photo footage, say Johnston participated with other rioters in trying to push law enforcement officials.

"Several members of the crowd joined together to push against police in a concerted movement. Johnston participated in this concerted movement and pushed along with other rioters for several seconds," the document states.

After the insurrection, the FBI posted pictures of Johnston, as well as many other rioters, on Jan. 6, asking for help with identification. The documents say that in March 2021, an attorney contacted the FBI's National Threat Operations Center and said they represented Johnston. The FBI says they interviewed three associates of Johnston who all identified him in the photographs the FBI posted.

One associate, the FBI says, provided a text message in which Johnston acknowledged being at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The text read, "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."

Airline records also show that Johnston reserved a flight that departed Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 4, 2021, and returned Jan. 7.

The actor faces charges of obstructing officers during civil disorder, which is a felony. He also faces several misdemeanor charges, including unlawful entry on restricted buildings or grounds. He is among the more than 1,000 people prosecutors have charged in relation to the deadly insurrection that took place more than two years ago.

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Deepa Shivaram
Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.