Briefline

Tina Peters pleads not guilty in Mesa County election security breach case

By: - September 7, 2022 4:59 pm

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters at her primary election watch party at the Wide Open Saloon in Sedalia on June 28, 2022. (Carl Payne for Colorado Newsline)

Indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges related to a security breach in her county’s election equipment last year.

Peters, a Republican, was indicted by a grand jury in March on seven felony charges and three misdemeanor charges. The charges included 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.

She now faces a seven-day jury trial that will begin March 6 in Mesa County.

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Peters, an election conspiracy theorist who denies the results of the 2020 presidential election and the results of her failed primary run for secretary of state, is accused of facilitating the creation of unauthorized copies of the county’s election system hard drives. She allegedly allowed an unauthorized person into the room during a secure software update, after which copies of the system and sensitive information were shared online.

Peters’ former deputy clerk, Belinda Knisley, was also indicted by the grand jury. She pleaded guilty, however, and has agreed to testify against Peters.

A federal investigation into Peters’ conduct is ongoing.

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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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