January 29, 2023

GUILTY! Colorado’s Mesa County elections manager takes plea and will testify against Tina Peters

GUILTY! Colorado's Mesa County elections manager takes plea and will testify against Tina Peters

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Former Mesa County Clerk elections manager, Sandra Brown, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges that she helped breach voting equipment in Colorado with her boss, Tina Peters. Brown has agreed to testify against Peters in the Mesa County Clerk’s upcoming trial.

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The 45-year-old pleaded guilty to felony and misdemeanor charges but will have to wait until after her testimony to be sentenced.

“There were things going on that I should have questioned and I didn’t,” Brown told Judge Matthew Barrett the Associated Press reported.

Working with another election official, chief deputy Belinda Knisley, Brown conspired with her co-worker and was present when Knisley tried to get a security badge giving election equipment access to an unauthorized individual who made copies of the hard drive.

Brown misled the secretary of state’s office about the man’s authority when asking for permission to let him attend a spring 2021 update – knowing it would otherwise be declined.

“She knew she was setting up a sham, Attorney General Dan Rubinstein said.

Peters, a vocal conspiracy theorist, and election denier garnered national attention when announcing her bid to be Colorado’s top election official – Secretary of State.

A guest at Trump loyalist and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s cyber symposium, Peters has been charged with multiple counts of attempting to influence a public servant, identity theft, violation of duty, and conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation.

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Peters was unceremoniously arrested after violating the conditions of her release by leaving the state of Colorado to attend an event in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Trump ally has denied the allegations, claiming they’re politically motivated.

The scam unfolded after photos and video were posted on social media revealing confidential voting system passwords and alerting state election officials to the coordinated — and illegal — plot.

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Judge Barrett has yet to accept the plea that would allow Brown to serve up to a month behind bars on the misdemeanor charge of official misconduct.

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The felony charge of attempting to influence a public servant would be a deferred adjudication that would be erased from the election manager’s record after 24 months, barring a violation of sentencing conditions.

Knisley was sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation after pleading guilty to the misdemeanor charges against her.

If the judge rejects Brown’s deal, the disgraced former election official can withdraw her guilty plea.

Original reporting by Christina A. Cassidy and Colleen Slevin at the Associated Press.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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