Wisconsin National Guard Member, Associate, Charged in Relation to US Capitol Breach

Wisconsin National Guard Member, Associate, Charged in Relation to US Capitol Breach
A U.S. flag flies in front of the U.S. Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, on April 29, 2021. (Samuel Corum/AFP via Getty Images)

A soldier of the Wisconsin National Guard and his friend were taken into custody for allegedly taking part in the U.S. Capitol breach earlier this year, federal officials said.

Abram Markofski was arrested on Monday and is facing four charges in relation to the protests, the Department of Justice said in a statement.

Markofski allegedly traveled by vehicle from Madison, Wisconsin to D.C. together with his associate, Brandon Nelson, to attend the protest of then-President Donald Trump against the certification of the 2020 presidential election, a statement of facts (pdf) reads.

Nelson is facing similar charges as Markofski that include entering and remaining in a restricted building and disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, according to a criminal complaint (pdf).

Detectives learned after receiving an anonymous tip that both men remained inside the halls of the government building for approximately 40 minutes.

Nelson and Markofski admitted during an interview with FBI special agents they arrived together in D.C. on the morning of Jan 6 and listened to Trump’s speech. From there, they walked up the stairs of the Capitol and entered the building.

NTD Photo
Brandon Nelson (left) and Abram Markofski allegedly inside the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021. (Courtesy of FBI)

According to the FBI affidavit, Nelson noted that police officers at the Capitol were “guiding” some people inside the building, while Markofski’s side of the story didn’t depict authorities as such.

“Markofski did not characterize police officers as guiding them into the building; rather, he said a police officer inside the Capitol told them, ‘I can’t make you guys leave. However, for your safety, you should leave,'” the affidavit reads.

The men made their initial court appearance in Madison on Monday afternoon, The Associated Press reported. They were released again pending a virtual hearing scheduled for May 10.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker barred both men from entering the District of Columbia in Washington.

Wisconsin Army National Guard spokesman Joe Trovato told AP that Markofski joined the Guard in 2019 and is currently a private first-class in the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry. He declined further comment, saying he couldn’t discuss “personnel matters.”

Surveillance footage that was reviewed by federal officials showed both men inside the halls of the Capitol building, with one of the men appearing to take pictures inside the building with his phone.

In one image that was reviewed, Nelson was seen circled on the left and Markofski on the right, standing close to each other.

Records obtained through a search warrant also showed a mobile device associated with an email address tied to a phone number Markofski is known to use was present in areas that are at least partially within the Capitol building between approximately 2:15 p.m. and 3:41 p.m. on Jan. 6, the affidavit reads.

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