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Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters cited for contempt of court for recording hearing, lying about it

By: - March 3, 2022 1:12 pm

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters speaks during a rally organized by the Truth & Liberty Coalition in support of her. The rally took place on Dec. 1, 2021, in front of the old Mesa County courthouse in Grand Junction. (Sharon Sullivan for Colorado Newsline)

Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters was cited for a contempt of court on Wednesday following an investigation into whether she recorded a court proceeding against the rules and then lied about it.

Peters, a Republican, will have a hearing on March 31 in front of Judge Valerie Robison, according to a release from the office of Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein. During that hearing, Peters can “show cause, if any, why she should not be held in contempt and sanctions imposed due to her failure to be truthful in court,” according to the release.

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Rubinstein’s office noted that it could have pursued criminal charges, but that would have taken longer and been more expensive. A contempt citation allows the judge to quickly determine an appropriate punishment.

When Peters attended a court hearing for her deputy clerk, Belinda Knisley, last month, she appeared to use her iPad to record despite not being allowed to do so. Knisley has been charged with burglary and misdemeanor cyber crimes for entering the clerk’s office when she was ordered to stay away and using Peters’ login information to try and access the election office’s computer system.

According to a released affidavit, Knisley’s sister confirmed to an investigator that she believes Peters used her iPad to record the hearing. When the judge asked Peters whether she was recording, Peters “shut it off” and told the judge she was not recording, according to that affidavit.

Peters is also facing charges for resisting officers when they attempted to carry out a search warrant for the iPad following the hearing. Additionally, she is under a grand jury investigation for her conduct last year during an election system software update when she allegedly allowed a security breach of the county’s election system.

Peters has spread claims that there is widespread voter fraud in Colorado that could have impacted the 2020 election, a conspiracy theory that has been disproven by by experts, courts and election officials from both parties. She is running for the Republican nomination for secretary of state.

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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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