A former Salt Lake police officer faces federal criminal charges for allegedly entering the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection, the second Utahn to be arrested for participating in the deadly riot.
Michael Lee Hardin, 50, of Kaysville, was taken into custody without incident Friday, according to the FBI. He was booked into the Davis County Jail.
Hardin was arrested on federal charges of knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, according to the FBI.
Hardin appeared in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City on Friday via videoconference in custody and wearing handcuffs. Federal prosecutors didn’t seek to detain him pending trial but sought certain conditions for his release.
Magistrate Judge Jared Bennett required Hardin to surrender his passport, restricted him from traveling to Washington except for court appearances and lawyer meetings, and ordered him to relinquish his firearms.
The case will be tried in Washington, where a hearing is scheduled for April 8. The charges are misdemeanors, with maximum jail sentences ranging from six months to one year.
An anonymous tipster called the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center on Jan. 7 alleging that Michael Lee Hardin was inside the Capitol on Jan. 6. The tipster described Hardin as a “friend” and his former financial adviser, according to a federal complaint.
The tipster told authorities Hardin called on Jan. 4 to say he was heading to Washington to “fight for the United States,” the complaint says. The tipster also claimed to have received text messages from Hardin on Jan. 6 saying, “We stormed the Capitol, I am in here now!” and “I know you don’t like Trump, but He is the rightful President!” and “We will return until we win!”
According to LinkedIn, Hardin works as a senior marketing manager at Transamerica Financial Advisers.
A Facebook page belonging to Hardin shows photos of an AR-15 rifle etched with the likeness of former President Donald Trump along with the words “Re-elect Donald Trump 2020.” There also is a photo of pairs of Trump 2020 red, white and blue socks.
On Jan. 10, the FBI received another tip from a Hardin acquaintance saying Hardin was in the Capitol on the day of the riot, the complaint says.
The second tipster provided agents a photo of him standing next to a bust of Abraham Lincoln in what appears to be the Capitol Crypt. Hardin can be seen wearing a navy blue beanie with the word “TRUMP” embroidered in white on the front, a dark-colored puffer coat, dark-colored shoes with white soles, and a tan backpack, according to the complaint.
The tipster told agents the photograph came from a relative of Hardin who claimed to have received it via text message on or about Jan 6. The tipster also gave the FBI a photo found on the TMZ website that appears to show Hardin inside the Capitol Crypt. Agents also reviewed video footage that appears to show Hardin in the crypt holding a cellphone, according to the complaint.
Hardin is the second Utahn to be arrested in connection with the Capitol riot.
In January, John Earle Sullivan, of Sandy, was charged in U.S. District Court in Washington with being on restricted property, civil disorder and violent entry or disorderly conduct.
Sullivan, who founded an organization called Insurgence USA, has said he was only at the Capitol to document the event.