A grand jury in Colorado has indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters in the wake of an investigation into election equipment tampering and official misconduct, CBS Denver reports. Mesa County Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley was also indicted as a result of the same investigation.
Peters, who is a Republican who has expressed support for voter fraud conspiracy theories stemming from the 2020 election, was saddled with a total of 10 charges, including three counts of attempting to influence a public servant, conspiracy to commit attempting to influence a public servant, criminal impersonation, conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation, identify theft, first-degree official misconduct, violation of duty, and failing to comply with the secretary of state. She turned herself in and was taken into custody by authorities at the Mesa County Detention Facility this Wednesday.
In a statement, twenty-first Judicial District Attorney Dan Rubinstein and Attorney General Phil Weise said that the indictment came after a “presentation of evidence in an ongoing investigation into the alleged election system breach in Mesa County.”
“The grand jury, randomly selected from the same pool of citizens that elected Clerk Tina Peters and chosen months before any of these alleged offenses occurred, concluded there is probable cause that Clerk Peters and Deputy Clerk Knisley committed crimes. A grand jury is comprised of citizens who determine whether probable cause of criminal activity has been established. Once indicted, the case must be proven in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt,” the statement read. “This investigation is ongoing, and other defendants may be charged as we learn more information. We remind everyone that these are allegations at this point and that they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.”
Knisley is charged with three counts of attempting to influence a public servant, one count of conspiracy to commit attempting to influence a public servant, violation of duty, and failing to comply with the secretary of state. She also turned herself in and was taken into custody by authorities at the Mesa County Detention Facility this Wednesday. Peters is also facing charges of obstructing a peace officer and obstructing government operations — of which she turned herself in to authorities last month. The charges are related to an iPad the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office wanted to examine.
From CBS Denver:
The Secretary of State’s office began its investigation into allegations of election equipment tampering after finding privileged voting system information posted to conservative sites on the internet.
[Secretary of State Jena Griswold] told CBS4 “We discovered not only passwords were released to the public all the servers and hard drives were copied.”
She added that security cameras were turned off during a supervised update of the equipment and an unauthorized person was allowed into the update
Griswold filed a lawsuit last month to ban Peters from overseeing the 2022 elections.
Peters is currently running as a Republican for Griswold’s spot as secretary of state of Colorado. As The New York Times points out, Peters is “among a group of brazenly partisan candidates” who claim that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election.