Dane Co., La Crosse Co. men charged for entering U.S. Capitol during January 6th riot

MADISON, Wis. — Two Wisconsin men are being arrested and charged with federal crimes after being identified as being in the U.S. Capitol during the January 6th riot.

Brandon Nelson of Dane County and Abram Markofski of La Crosse County appeared in federal court in Madison Monday afternoon. They have been charged with federal offenses of 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.

Brandon Nelson and Abram Markofski at the U.S. Capitol

Both men were released from custody on the conditions they stay away from Washington, D.C. unless they need to appear for court purposes and that they get travel outside of Wisconsin approved. They will also need to call pretrial services at least once per week.

According to documents filed in federal court Monday, an anonymous tipster contacted the FBI on January 7th saying Nelson was inside the Capitol during the riot the day before. Federal agents contacted Nelson on January 18th, who admitted he drove with Markofski from Madison to Washington, D.C. on January 5th so they could attend the rally being held by President Donald Trump on January 6th.

Nelson told the FBI he and Markofski went to the Washington Monument before hearing Trump speak outside of the White House before heading to the U.S. Capitol. He said they walked up the stairs of the Capitol near some scaffolding before walking in, claiming Capitol Police were guiding some people in. Markofski’s account differs, saying police weren’t welcoming people inside the Capitol, but did say “I can’t make you guys leave. However, for your safety, you should leave.”

According to court documents, Nelson told the FBI agents he and Markofski entered a room inside the Capitol that had a dome-like ceiling for about 20 minutes before following the crowd into another room inside the Capitol. Nelson says they were inside the building for about 40 minutes. Markofski told the FBI he and Nelson drove back to Wisconsin after leaving the Capitol building.

The FBI says it was able to find video evidence of Nelson and Markofski in the Capitol, which was verified by both men confirming what they were wearing that day. Agents were also able to use Google phone records to verify Markofski was near or inside the Capitol during the riot between 2:15 p.m. and 3:41 p.m. on January 6th.

Markofski is also a member of the National Guard.

A recent report found more than 400 people from 43 states and Washington, D.C. have been arrested and charged so far for being present during the events of January 6th.