A Mesa County grand jury has indicted Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters on 10 counts and Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley on 6 counts related to an investigation into allegations of election equipment tampering and official misconduct.
Peters is charged with three counts of felony attempting to influence a public servant, one count of felony conspiracy to commit attempting to influence a public servant, felony criminal impersonation, two counts of felony conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation, felony identify theft, misdemeanor first-degree official misconduct, misdemeanor violation of duty and misdemeanor failing to comply with the secretary of state.
Knisley is charged with three counts of felony attempting to influence a public servant, one count of felony conspiracy to commit attempting to influence a public servant, misdemeanor violation of duty, and misdemeanor failing to comply with the secretary of state.
21st Judicial District Attorney Dan Rubinstein and Attorney General Phil Weiser released the following statement regarding the results of the Mesa County grand jury proceedings:
“Yesterday, the Mesa County grand jury returned an indictment after the presentation of evidence in an ongoing investigation into the alleged election system breach in Mesa County. The grand jury, randomly selected from the same pool of citizens that elected Clerk Tina Peters and chosen months before any of these alleged offenses occurred, concluded there is probable cause that Clerk Peters and Deputy Clerk Knisley committed crimes.
A grand jury is comprised of citizens who determine whether probable cause of criminal activity has been established. Once indicted, the case must be proven in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt.
This investigation is ongoing, and other defendants may be charged as we learn more information. We remind everyone that these are allegations at this point and that they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.”
According to Mesa County DA’s Office, no further comment is available to maintain the investigation’s impartiality.
The charges related to identify theft stem from the use of Gerald Wood’s identity by Peters. Wood testified to the Grand Jury that he was not present at the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder’s Office when Peters’, Sandra Brown’s and Wood’s key cards were used to access the Dominion Voting Machines on May 23, 2021.
According to the indictment, “Beginning in April 2021 and in advance of the May 25-26, 2021, trusted build, Tina Peters and Belinda Knisley, either as principal actors and/or acting as complicators, 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. 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 indictment also claims that Peters and Knisley attempted to illegally influence a number of public servants employed by Mesa County and the Secretary of State’s Office. The 21st Judicial District issued an arrest warrant for Peters and Knisley on March 8.