Republican Colorado clerk indicted for stealing voting machine data

Republican Colorado clerk indicted for stealing voting machine data
Image via Screengrab.

Mesa County, Colorado Clerk Tina Peters and Deputy Belinda Knisley were indicted on Tuesday for a slate of criminal charges for secretly copying hard drives inside Dominion Voting Machines after the 2020 election.

Peters is a Republican candidate for secretary of state, a powerful role that includes overseeing the Centennial State's elections. She has been an outspoken proponent of former President Donald Trump's false assertions that the election was rigged. Prosecutors allege that Peters was attempting to prove Trump's lie that voter fraud cost him a second term.

"In an 18-page indictment, a county grand jury accused Peters of sneaking someone who was not a county employee into secure areas of her office in May, before and during a manual update of Dominion voting machines known as a 'trusted build,'" The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

"Peters was charged Tuesday evening with 10 counts, seven of them felonies," the Post learned from the filing. "They include conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation and attempting to influence a public servant, stemming in part from her allegedly attempting to deceive state elections officials."

The charges were laid out in a joint press release from Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser and Mesa County District Attorney Daniel Rubinstein.

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," the indictment states, as reported byThe Denver Post. “Furthermore, these defendants, without permission or lawful authorization, also used the name and personal identifying information of Gerald ‘Jerry’ Wood to further their criminal scheme. This unlawful use of Mr. Wood’s identity by Tina Peters and Belinda Knisley also subjected Mr. Wood to various forms of liability and criminal exposure."

The investigation started last August when conspiracy theorists managed to obtain the stolen data.

“We certainly thank the grand jurors for their work. As you know, a grand jury does not receive all the evidence in the case,” Knisley’s lawyer, R. Scott Reisch, told the Post. “Only the evidence the district attorney believes favors their case is presented. We look forward for all the evidence being considered by a jury.”

Meanwhile, Colorado's Democratic Secretary of State Jean Griswold said that "we need election administrators who are committed to following the law and election rules," adding that "officials tasked with carrying out elections do so in public trust and must be held accountable when they abuse their power or position.”

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