Briefline

Grand jury that indicted state Sen. Pete Lee was given wrong information on key evidence

By: - September 21, 2022 2:07 pm
Pete Lee

Sen. Pete Lee, a Colorado Springs Democrat, speaks on the Senate floor May 5, 2022. (Faith Miller/Colorado Newsline)

An investigator with the district attorney’s office in El Paso County unknowingly gave incorrect information to a grand jury that then delivered a felony indictment against Democratic state Sen. Pete Lee for lying about where he lives for the purpose of voting.

On Tuesday, Lee’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss that indictment.

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Members of the grand jury were told that Lee, a lawyer, changed the address for his attorney registration in December 2019 from a house in Colorado Springs to a house in Cheyenne Cañon, outside of the district represents.

That didn’t happen, however.

The claim was based on incorrect information given to the prosecutors by someone in the state’s Office of Attorney Registration, according to the motion.

That incorrect information, which the grand jury heard numerous times, was used as evidence that Lee lied about his address when voting in 2020.

Lee was indicted in August for allegedly using false information about where he lives to vote in the 2020 presidential primary.

“To allow the Grand Jury’s indictment to stand, in light of the material erroneous information provided for their consideration is to make a mockery of the use of the grand jury and lose the confidence citizens have in an indictment being a fair determination of whether a prosecution should be initiated,” Lee’s attorney, David Kaplan, wrote in the motion.

“These misstatements and erroneous facts presented to the Grand Jury are not peripheral to the charges sought and the indictment rendered, they are a material misrepresentation of the facts used to obtain an indictment,” Kaplan wrote.

The 4th Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen, a Republican, intends to still move forward with the case.

“Despite this correction from the Colorado Supreme Court Attorney Registration Office, the evidence continues to support a determination that probable cause exists to reasonably believe the defendant committed the crime charged in the indictment,” Allen’s office tweeted on Wednesday.

Lee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lee is next due in court on Oct. 18. He is not seeking reelection this year and his term ends in January.

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Sara Wilson
Sara Wilson

Sara Wilson covers state government, Colorado's congressional delegation, energy and other stories for Newsline. She formerly was a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, where she covered politics and government in southern Colorado. Wilson earned a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and as a student she reported on Congress and other federal beats in Washington, D.C.

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