KAYSVILLE — Nearly three months after supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, 50-year-old Kaysville resident Michael Lee Hardin was arrested Friday on charges stemming from the insurrection.
According to the FBI, Hardin is a former officer with the Salt Lake City Police Department. He retired from the department in 2017, said spokesperson Detective Marie Stewart. Court records don’t indicate if he has an attorney.
A press release from the bureau said Hardin is being charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any 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 a statement of facts posted on the Justice Department’s website Friday afternoon, an anonymous tipster told the FBI on Jan. 7 that Hardin was among those who infiltrated the Capitol on Jan. 6. That individual told agents that they had received text messages from Hardin saying, “We stormed the Capitol, I am in here now!”; “I know you don’t like Trump, but He is the rightful President!”; and “We will return until we win!”
On Jan. 10, a second tipster came forward, confirming to the FBI that Hardin was in the Capitol on Jan. 6. That individual provided the FBI with a photograph of Hardin standing next to a bust of Abraham Lincoln inside what appears to be the Capitol Crypt. In the picture, Hardin is 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, the document says.
Hardin allegedly texted that photo directly to a relative, who then shared it with the second tipster. That individual also pointed Hardin out in a photo of the riot published by TMZ. In that photo, he is standing in a group of individuals in what appears to be the crypt of the Capitol building.
Records obtained through a search warrant show that a phone associated with Hardin’s email address was present at the Capitol on the day of the insurrection, according to the statement of facts. Hardin was taken into custody without incident Friday morning by FBI special agents and members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, with the assistance of the Utah State Bureau of Investigations, the release said.
The arrest was made following the issuance of a warrant by the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., and signed by Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather. On the court’s filing system, the case appears to be sealed, like the cases of many accused of participating in the insurrection.
Hardin does not appear to have a criminal record.
Posts on Hardin’s Facebook page include a video shared widely prior to the riot at the Capitol, featuring clips of Trump’s speeches and phrases linked to QAnon flashing across the screen, like “the deep states time is over” and “the great awakening.”
QAnon is a convoluted system of beliefs that is centered on the theory that Trump is engaged in a secret campaign against thousands of deep state operatives and pedophiles. It has been spread largely through internet platforms, including Facebook, and is promoted by some right-wing extremists. The FBI identified QAnon as a domestic terrorism threat in a 2019 intelligence bulletin obtained by Yahoo! News.
Hardin also shared a video made by a group called @ItalyQAnons to his page comparing Trump and former President John F. Kennedy. He posted another video, shared from YouTube, called “How To Steal An Election,” which has since been removed from the platform for violating community guidelines.
In another video posted by Hardin in the week following the insurrection, a man says, “We’ve got to be baptized in boldness. We need to be covered from head to toe in boldness. No time to be cowards, ladies and gentlemen, we need to stand up for our rights.”
Hardin is the second Utah resident known to have been charged in the breach.
The other is John Sullivan of Sandy, a self-described journalist and liberal activist. Sullivan released footage to the FBI that showed him entering the Capitol on Jan. 6 and roaming the building, according to arrest documents. His footage included video of Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt of San Diego being shot by Capitol Police outside the Speaker’s Lobby, according to court documents.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.