Then-Mesa County Clerk and Colorado secretary of state candidate Tina Peters attends the Western Conservative Summit in Aurora on June 4, 2022. (Chase Woodruff/Colorado Newsline)
The Colorado attorney general’s office and the 21st Judicial District attorney’s office have completed their core investigation into the 2021 events that led to a security breach in the Mesa County elections office, District Attorney Dan Rubinstein announced Tuesday.
That investigation, which resulted in state charges against Clerk Tina Peters and two other election workers, ran parallel to investigations with federal authorities. Rubinstein, a Republican, said he asked the U.S. attorney’s office to continue its investigation into “all potential perpetrators of federal crimes.”
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The events under scrutiny occurred during a software update in 2021 in the Mesa County elections office. Peters, a Republican who promotes election conspiracy theories, and her deputy, Belinda Knisley, conspired to have an authorized person in the room during the update. Copies of the election system hard drive were made, and sensitive information from the system became public.
Peters and Knisley were indicted by a grand jury in March on felony and misdemeanor charges.
Last week, Knisley accepted a plea deal to testify against Peters, former elections manager Sandra Brown and any other co-defendants in the case, in order to avoid jail time. Knisley still faces probation and a fine.
Rubinstein said he and Attorney General Phil Weiser, a Democrat, are aware of the need to move the case through the system. They will press for the “earliest possibly trial dates” and ask the court to set those dates when Peters next appears in court for an arraignment Sept. 7.
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