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2 Wisconsin Men Charged With Entering US Capitol During Jan. 6 Insurrection

The FBI Used Google Data To Help Confirm Their Location

Blue tiled exterior of a courthouse building
The federal courthouse for the Western District of Wisconsin in Madison. John K. Wilson/WPR

Two Wisconsin men have been arrested and charged with entering the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Brandon Nelson, of Dane County, and Abram Markofski, of La Crosse County, have been charged with four counts, including entering and remaining in a restricted building and disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds.

During an initial court appearance Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen L. Crocker ordered Nelson and Markofski not to leave Wisconsin’s Western District while their case is pending without first clearing it with the court. They’re scheduled to hold a remote hearing with a Washington judge May 10.

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According to a sworn statement from the FBI, an anonymous tipster told the agency the day after the insurrection Nelson had been inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6.

The FBI said Nelson later told agents he and Markofski drove from Madison to Washington on Jan 5, arriving there the morning of Jan. 6. Nelson told the FBI they attended former President Donald Trump’s speech outside the White House that day before they walked to the Capitol.

The FBI said it was able to confirm Markofski was inside the Capitol by tracking his cell phone location data, which it obtained from Google through a search warrant. The Google data showed Markofski’s phone was at least partially within the U.S. Capitol between 2:15 p.m. and 3:41 p.m. Jan. 6.

Both men admitted to entering the Capitol. Nelson said some police officers were guiding people into the building. Markofski said a police officer inside the building told them they should leave for their own safety.

Markowski is a member of the Army National Guard, where a spokesperson confirmed he enlisted in July 2019.

During Monday’s hearing, Markofski’s attorney asked Crocker whether Markowski would be allowed to carry a weapon as part of his Guard duty.

“He is under no prohibition at this time,” Crocker said.

A spokesperson for the Guard declined to discuss the case, saying that as a matter of policy, it could not discuss personnel matters.

In the early days after the insurrection, NPR reported a disproportionate number of those arrested were military veterans.