A Mesa County, Colorado grand jury has returned an 18-page indictment against Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley related to an investigation into allegations of election equipment tampering and official misconduct, Daniel Rubenstein, the county’s District Attorney announced today.
Peters has been allied with conspiracy theorist and My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell in spreading disproven accusations about election fraud and is accused of secretly copying hard drives from Dominion Voting Systems equipment in her district to provide to unauthorized, self-appointed investigators of the 2020 presidential election results in Colorado.
She is also currently running to become the GOP nominee for Colorado Secretary of State, leveraging her vocal advocacy of discredited accusations of massive election fraud in the state into an attempt to become the state official with the authority to supervise all of the elections in Colorado.
Peters has been under investigation since last August when data from her county’s voting machines suddenly turned up in the possession of conspiracy theorists advocating unsuccessfully for overturning Donald Trump’s loss of Colorado’s electoral votes.
The indictment, which was issued last night, includes 10 counts — seven of them felonies — including charges such as conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation, identity theft, and attempting to influence a public servant by presenting election officials with false information.
According to an account in The Colorado Sun:
“The charges stem from a May 25, 2021, election system software update at the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder’s Office conducted by the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. Following the update, Mesa Count election system passwords were posted on the internet.”
Prior to the update, Peters obtained security credentials for a contractor whom she allegedly told he would be doing work to back up the data on the Dominion Voting Systems machines.
In the end, the contractor was never hired and testified that he returned his access badge to Peters. Yet, on the day of the software update, his badge was used to enter secure Mesa County election offices.
Peters is alleged to have introduced an unidentified man that day as the contractor whose name was on the access credentials, but the contractor insists that he was never in the offices that day.
“Mr. Wood testified that he did not go to the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder’s Office in Grand Junction on May 23 or May 25 and did not use the access badge that he had previously turned over to Ms. Knisley on May 19,” the indictment reads. “The grand jury was presented with evidence which corroborated Mr. Wood’s sworn testimony regarding his whereabouts on both May 23 and May 25.”
Warrants for the arrest of Peters and her Deputy Clerk Knisley have already been issued in conjunction with the indictment.
As a result of Peter’s breach of election security, Mesa County was forced to replace the county’s Dominion Voting equipment after the state decertified them last fall after the security of the data in the machines was called into question.
Original reporting by Jesse Paul at The Colorado Sun.