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County Clerk Tina Peters facing felony charges; indictment arraignment pushed back

The embattled Mesa County Court Clerk is charged with allegedly tampering with election equipment
Tina Peters in court
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 2:27 PM MDT
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MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO) - Mesa County Court Clerk Tina Peters appeared in court yesterday and received a continuance after the judge overseeing her case pushed back the arraignment on a 13-count criminal indictment against Peters and her Chief Deputy Belinda Knisely. Peters is facing criminal felony charges for allegedly tampering with election equipment and official misconduct. She is also charged with obstruction.

The charges resulted in Colorado’s Secretary of State Jena Griswold to name three people to oversee the county’s primaries at month’s end. In a video released to KKCO, Peters claims that Griswold was using tactics of a dictator and compared her to the Nazi secret police. “That’s why we call her ‘Gestapo Griswold,’” said Peters. Peters also claimed that Griswold had “weaponized law enforcement [and] terrorized her political opponent.”

After the 2020 election, Peters was quick to question the validity of the election. Months later, in August of 2021, a far-right website published passwords and other confidential information from a Dominion Voting Systems machine. Peters acknowledged in a court filing that she had taking photos and videos of Dominion software during an update. An additional filing confirmed that confidential passwords for the county’s election equipment were clearly visible on a laptop screen belonging to an employee from the Secretary of State’s office. Photos and videos of the laptop were taken and later posted to the right-wing site.

The information was determined to have come from Mesa County. Peters and Deputy Knisley were confirmed to have disabled the election office security cameras from May 17, 2021, to August 1, 2021. A few days later, Peters used her access badge to enter a secure area in the election office. She also used false credentials from a man named “Gerald Wood” to access the area. Peters has since confirmed that she authorized a consultant to make a copy of the vote-counting hard drive.

Peters claimed that the consultant was the aforementioned Gerald Wood, but Wood has since testified that he was never present at the county clerk’s office on May 23, when his credentials were used to access the area. He stated that Peters contacted him to do contract work with Dominion that the county’s IT department wasn’t capable of performing, but returned the badge the same day he received it. Wood confirmed that he was not hired by Mesa County, nor did he perform any work for the county. Knisley and Peters have since been charged with criminal impersonation for using Wood’s identity.

Peters was previously arrested in February of this year due to her refusal to provide an iPad which may have contained an illegal recording of court proceedings. She has since been released.

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