Documents reveal how FBI tracked down ex-Utah cop charged in Jan. 6 assault on U.S. Capitol

Michael Hardin (circled in red) is believed to be the man pictured in this photo taken during the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol Building, which resulted in the multiple deaths. Photo: U.S. Department of Justice

KAYSVILLE, Utah, April 2, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Documents shared by the FBI reveal how investigators zeroed in on an ex-Salt Lake City police officer arrested Friday, April 2, on suspicion of participating in the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building.

Kaysville resident Michael Lee Hardin, 50, is a former officer with the Salt Lake City Police Department, officials there confirmed.

Hardin is 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
  • Parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol Building

A statement from the U.S. Department of Justice reveals how investigators followed a trail of tips, photos, and electronic signatures to identify Hardin as a suspect.

According to the DOJ statement, “Police attempted to maintain order and keep the crowd from entering the Capitol; however, shortly around 2 p.m., individuals in the crowd forced entry into the U.S. Capitol, including by breaking windows and by assaulting members of the U.S. Capitol Police.

“During national news coverage of the aforementioned events, video footage which appeared to be captured on mobile devices of persons present on the scene depicted evidence of violations of local and federal law, including scores of individuals inside the U.S. Capitol building without authority to be there.”

The next day, Jan. 7, an anonymous tipster, called “T-1” in Department of Justice documents, “provided a tip to the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center alleging that Michael Lee Hardin was inside the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. T-1 described Hardin as a ‘friend’ and as T-1’s former financial advisor…

“T-1 provided the information regarding Hardin voluntarily, without financial compensation or other enticement/inducement.”

According to T-1, Hardin called T-1 on Jan. 4, 2021, to say that he was heading to Washington, D.C. “to fight for the United States. T-1 further claimed that Hardin had sent T-1 text messages on January 6, 2021 stating, ‘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!'”

Michael Hardin is believed to be the man pictured in this photo taken during the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol Building, which resulted in the multiple deaths. Photo: U.S. Department of Justice

T-1 provided the FBI with Hardin’s phone number in Kaysville and his home address there.

“Information from law enforcement databases indicates that Hardin is a former Salt Lake City Police Department officer who resides at the Kaysville, Utah address provided by T-1. Furthermore, your affiant has confirmed that the telephone number ending in (four numbers) is affiliated with Hardin in law enforcement databases.”

On Jan. 10, another close acquaintance of Hardin indicated Hardin had been at the assault on the Capitol. Officials conducted an in-person interview with the second informant (T-2), who provided a photo of Hardin standing next to a bust of Abraham Lincoln, which appears to be in an area known as 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. T-2 claimed to have received this photograph from a relative of Hardin, who, in turn, claimed to have received the photo from Hardin directly via text message on or about January 6, 2021.”

T-2, who also was not compensated for information, provided the same phone number for Hardin as had T-1. T-2 also provided an email address for Hardin.

“Your affiant has confirmed that this Google e-mail address is affiliated with Hardin in law enforcement databases.”

Video footage submitted to the FBI by a member of the public also depicts Hardin inside the Capitol Crypt, holding a mobile phone in his hands, the statement says.

Hardin appears to be wearing clothing seen in another provided photo, the statement says.

Michael Hardin (circled in red) is believed to be the man pictured in this photo taken during the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol Building, which resulted in the multiple deaths. Photo: Department of Justice/FBI

“Your affiant has compared these photographs to Hardin’s Utah driver’s license photograph, and reasonably believes that the individual depicted in (the photos) appears to be Hardin,” the statement says.

Records obtained through a search warrant also show Hardin’s mobile device “was present at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Google estimates device location using sources including GPS data and information about nearby Wi-Fi access points and Bluetooth beacons,” the statement says.

Hardin’s location was in the center of the Capitol building, “which I know includes the Crypt, starting at approximately 2:27 p.m. EST,” the investigator’s statement says, placing Hardin in the area where the photographs were shot, and inside a legally restricted building, the statement says.

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