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Wisconsin National Guard member charged in Capitol riot

Wisconsin National Guard member charged in Capitol riot
© Julia Nikhinson

A member of the Wisconsin National Guard has been charged in connection to the deadly Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol.

Abram Markofski was arrested Monday and faces four charges in relation to the riots, the Department of Justice said.

A spokesperson for the Wisconsin National Guard confirmed to The Associated Press that Markofski joined the Guard in 2019 and is a private first-class in the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry.

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The Hill has reached out to the Guard for comment.

Markofski’s arrest comes as the Pentagon seeks to weed out extremism in its ranks. More than 400 people have been arrested in connection with the riots. According to ABC News, at least 52 are active or former military, law enforcement or government service employees.

While it’s been dealing with the issue for a long time, the presence of current and former military personnel during the Jan. 6 riots made the issue more pressing.

Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense: Ex-Pentagon chief defends Capitol attack response as GOP downplays violence | Austin, Biden confer with Israeli counterparts amid conflict with Hamas | Lawmakers press Pentagon officials on visas for Afghan partners Trump appointee endorses Christine Wormuth as Army secretary Austin repeats 'ironclad support' for Israel in conflict with Palestine MORE issued a militarywide “stand-down” to address extremism in the ranks in February. He set up a working group in early April that would review and update the Department’s definition of extremism and establish new screening procedures.

According to an FBI affidavit, Brandon Nelson, who was with Markofski, said the two traveled together from the Madison, Wis., area to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5 for the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the riots.

Nelson told agents that the men entered the Capitol after the rally, adding that police officers were guiding people in. Nelson said the two were in the Capitol for about 40 minutes.

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Markofski also told agents that the men were inside the Capitol, but didn’t say that officers were guiding people in. Instead, he said that an officer inside said “I can’t make you guys leave. However, for your safety, you should leave.”

The men drove back to Wisconsin after leaving the Capitol, according to the affidavit. Both men were seen in photographs and video taken inside the Capitol.

Markofski and Nelson have been charged with entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; violent entry or disorderly conduct; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. 

AP reported that they made their initial court appearance Monday afternoon, and that they are released pending a virtual hearing May 10.