Source: Guardsman Who Rioted on Jan. 6 Being Removed from Service, But Still Drawing a Paycheck

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Rioters storm the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.
FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, violent rioters storm the Capitol, in Washington. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

A Wisconsin National Guardsman who pleaded guilty to charges related to his role in the assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, is being removed from the military, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation. However, he has been allowed to continue his military training for a year after he was first charged, and is still receiving a paycheck from the state.

Pfc. Abram Markofski serves as an infantryman in Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry Regiment – based in River Falls, Wisconsin. He was first charged in April 2021, and pleaded guilty to one of four charges as part of an agreement with prosecutors. In December, he was sentenced to two years’ probation and a $1,500 fine. Prosecutors were initially seeking prison time.

Yet, Markofski has been allowed to continue his weekend training drills with the National Guard, meaning he has been able to take part in combat training with weapons and continued to draw a paycheck from the service component long after Jan. 6, 2021. A spokesperson with the Wisconsin National Guard did not return a request for comment ahead of this story’s publication.

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It is unclear when exactly Markofski will be officially separated from the service component, a source told Military.com on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the subject, but Guard officials in Wisconsin have begun paperwork to remove him. However, he was flagged, meaning he was not allowed to be promoted since charges were filed after the Capitol siege.

Since Markofski’s charges became public, Military.com has asked the Wisconsin National Guard numerous times if he was being removed from service. In each instance officials declined to answer, citing concerns for Markofski’s privacy, though the status of a service member’s career is routinely disclosed by other units, especially during criminal investigations and after sentencing.

Court documents say Markofski and a friend traveled more than 800 miles to Washington D.C. from Madison, Wisconsin to attend the rally held by then-President Donald Trump just before the assault. Court records say Markofski was in the Capitol for over an hour, based on GPS tracking records of his phone.

Ahead of the attack Trump gave an inflammatory speech laced with conspiracy theories that the election was stolen. He urged his supporters to march on the Capitol and confront police and lawmakers amid the largely ceremonial process certifying the peaceful transfer of power to President Joe Biden.

Ahead of Markofski’s sentencing, company-level leaders in his unit penned letters to Guard officials and the court asking he be allowed to continue his service. That included his platoon leader, 2nd Lt. Joel Stevenson and his platoon sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class Tristan Babl, both of whom said he was an “asset” to the Army. Just before the Capitol attack, Markofski was removed from Special Forces Selection for failing the Army’s physical fitness test.

The news comes after Cpl. Jacob Fracker, an infantryman with the Virginia National Guard’s 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 29th Infantry Division is also being removed from the service component following his guilty plea in March. The Virginia Guard did not allow Fracker to take part in his military duties since charges swiftly after the insurrection.

It is unclear why seven months after his guilty plea, the Wisconsin Guard has allowed Markofski to continue his service.

Related: Soldier Who Was First Service Member Charged After Jan. 6 Riot Is Being Removed from the National Guard

-- Steve Beynon can be reached at Steve.Beynon@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.

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