Actor T.J. Miller arrested for allegedly reporting false bomb threat
T.J. Miller is a comedian and actor you probably know best as Erlich Bachman in HBO's Silicon Valley. He's also starred in several films, including Cloverfield, Deadpool, The Emoji Movie and Ready Player One. Miller is known for his improvisational style of comedy and absurd non-sequiturs, but now one of his antics could have him facing five years in prison.
On Monday night, the 36-year-old comic was arrested at LaGuardia Airport for allegedly reporting a false bomb threat. The incident occurred last March, when he was riding an Amtrak train from Washington D.C. toward Penn Station in New York City. According to a press release from authorities, he called 911 and reported that a female passenger "has a bomb in her bag."
Amtrak officials stopped the train, evacuated the passengers and brought in a bomb squad to search the cars. They did not detect any explosive materials. Then investigators discovered that Miller had in fact been riding a different train the one that he reported. They stopped that train as well, and conducted a search. Once again, they did not find any explosive materials.
Officials called Miller back to be further questioned. He told them the suspicious woman was carrying a "black bag carry on suitcase with a handle" and she seemed eager to get off the train, while leaving her bag behind. "This is the first time I’ve ever made a call like this before," said Miller. "I am worried for everyone on that train. Someone has to check that lady out." However, his description of the female passenger kept changing, leading an officer to suspect he was intoxicated.
Amtrak officers then interviewed a flight attendant, who said that he believed Miller was intoxicated when he boarded the train, and consumed even more alcohol while riding. Also, he said that Miller was involved in "hostile exchanges with a woman" who was sitting in another row in the First Class car.
According to the press release, authorities believe Miller was "motivated by a grudge against the subject female, called 911 to relay false information about a suspected bomb on the train, and continued to convey false information to investigators while the public safety response was ongoing."
The delay affected four trains and 1,145 passengers, costing them over 926 hours of travel time. It also wasted the time of several agencies, including he Metropolitan Transit Authority, Connecticut State Police, Amtrak Police and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Miller was charged with "intentionally conveying to law enforcement false information about an explosive device on a train traveling to Connecticut." On Tuesday morning, he appeared before a U.S. district judge and was released on a $100,000 bond. The maximum sentence for this charge is five years in prison
This incident comes after a woman accused Miller of physical and sexual assault last fall. Miller vehemently denies these allegations, and his wife, Kate, backed him up in a joint statement.
In addition, an investigation from The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Miller was let go from Silicon Valley for his erratic behavior. Insiders at HBO show say he allegedly showed up drunk to the set, and sometimes didn't show up at all. In response, Miller denied that he was intoxicated. He said he was simply exhausted from lack of sleep, from burning the candle at both ends, doing stand-up comedy in the evenings. This season of Silicon Valley is the first not to feature his character.