Belinda Knisley formally charged
Belinda Knisley appeared in the 21st Judicial District Court early this morning
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Early this morning, Mesa County Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley appeared before a judge and was formally charged.
Knisley, 66, appeared in the 21st Judicial District Court today for the formal filing of charges. According to the complaint and information document provided by the District Attorney, Knisley was formally charged with:
- Second Degree Burglary (Class 4 Felony): “Between and including August 23, 2021 and August 25, 2021, Belinda Gail Knisley unlawfully, feloniously, and knowingly broke an entrance into, entered, or remained unlawfully after a lawful or unlawful entry in the building or occupied structure of Mesa County, located at 200 S. Spruce Street, Grand Junction, CO with the intent to commit therein the crime of Cyber Crime; in violation of section 18-4-203(1), C.R.S.”
- Cybercrime (Class 2 Misdemeanor): “Between and including August 23, 2021 and August 25, 2021, Belinda Gail Knisley unlawfully and knowingly accessed, exceeded authorized access to, or used a computer, computer network, or computer system, or any part thereof without authorization or in excess of authorized access; in violation of section 18-5.5-102(1)(a), C.R.S.”
It is important to note, these charges are separate from the District Attorney’s Office’s ongoing investigation into criminal activity surrounding the security breach of Mesa County voting equipment. No arrests have been made related to the security breach investigation.
Knisley’s next court appearance will take place on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021 virtually at 8 a.m. This will be a review hearing.
Knisley is an employee of Mesa County and not an elected official. She was served an official written notice of suspension as a Mesa County employee on Aug. 23 at the Mesa County DMV located at 200 S. Spruce St. After her suspension was served, she was escorted off the premises.
According to the District Attorney, the county had received numerous complaints from multiple sources that Knisley had allegedly engaged in inappropriate and unprofessional conduct in the workplace.
Knisley’s access to Mesa County computers, networks, and servers was disabled by Mesa County IT on the same day as her suspension.
On Aug. 25, around 12 p.m., it was reported that Knisley was inside a secure work area at the Mesa County DMV, the same location she had been escorted off of two days before. According to her affidavit, she was caught and escorted off the property.
Around 5 p.m. on the same day, in response to a search warrant issued by the District Attorney, Mesa County Human Resources went to collect Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters’ work notebook computer from her office. The affidavit states during the collection, it appeared Knisley was using Peters’ Mesa County work station to access the secure Mesa County computer network earlier that morning.
Mesa County IT pulled log files from Peters’ work notebook computer that confirmed Peters’ credentials were used to login. Upon further investigation, Mesa County IT also discovered that items were sent to the print server, but were not ultimately printed. The content of these items remains under investigation.
At this time, Peters has not returned to her office in Mesa County since her leave on Aug. 9.
Ultimately, Knisley turned herself in to the 21st Judicial District Court on Sept. 1. Due to this, the District Attorney made arrangements for her to avoid going to jail.
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