Colorado elections clerk Tina Peters indicted in voting system breach

A Colorado grand jury has indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters in relation to an investigation into allegations of election equipment tampering and official misconduct.

Peters, who has been a proponent of unfounded claims of widespread election fraud, is facing a 10-count indictment, according to Mesa County. The charges include attempting to influence a public servant, criminal impersonation, conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation, identity theft, first-degree official misconduct, violation of duty and failing to comply with the secretary of state.

Mesa County Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley is also facing charges in the indictment.

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This booking photo provided by the Mesa County, Colo., Sheriff’s Department, shows Mesa County clerk Tina Peters on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in Grand Junction, Colo.

AP


peters announced last month that she was running to be Colorado’s top election official, secretary of state. In January, Colorado’s current secretary of state, Democrat Jena Griswold, filed a lawsuit to try to bar Peters from overseeing the 2022 elections after Peters failed to certify that she’d comply with election security protocols.

The criminal indictment alleges that Peters and Knisley “devised and executed a deceptive scheme which was designed to influence public servants, breach security protocols, exceed permissible access to voting equipment, and set in motion the eventual distribution of confidential information to unauthorized people.”

Peters’ campaign has not responded to a request for comment. CBS News left a message with Knisley’s attorney, who told the Washington Post, “as you know, a grand jury does not receive all the evidence in the case.”

“We look forward for all the evidence being considered by a jury,” he added.

According to the indictment, Peters and Knisely worked to get an individual who was not a county employee access to secure areas before and during a voting software upgrade in May 2021. The secretary of state’s office previously said that only authorized state, county or Dominion Voting Systems staff were allowed to be present during that process.

Peters, claiming this person was a county employee, introduced him to a state worker and a Dominion Voting Systems employee during the upgrade process. The indictment noted that the person whose identity Peters had used was not present at the office on those days. Officials have been trying to determine that person’s identity.

In early August, the indictment says, Colorado secretary of state employees learned that images of Mesa County election management systems and passwords had been posted online.

“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,” 21st Judicial District Attorney Dan Rubinstein and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a statement.

Peters spoke last year at an event organized by Trump ally and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who has frequently promoted unfounded election conspiracy theories.

She and several candidates who have questioned the results of the 2020 election and are now running to be the top election officials in their states.

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