There’s no shortage of local election officials who bought into Donald Trump’s Big Lie about his 2020 defeat, but by any fair measure, Tina Peters is a special case. Indeed, as NBC News reported yesterday, the Colorado Republican is now under indictment.
A grand jury in Colorado has indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters on counts related to a probe into alleged election equipment tampering and official misconduct. Peters was indicted on felony and misdemeanor charges connected to an investigation into an election security breach in the county’s office last year. Belinda Knisley, Peters’ deputy, was also indicted.
The fact that Peters has run into legal trouble may sound familiar, but yesterday’s developments were new. It was last month when the county clerk was detained by law enforcement when she obstructed efforts to serve a search warrant for her iPad.
The grand jury indictment is vastly more serious: Peters is now facing 10 counts, including attempting to influence a public servant, criminal impersonation, conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation, identity theft, official misconduct, violation of duty, and failing to comply with the secretary of state.
At the heart of the controversy are allegations that Peters, in her capacity as a local county clerk, may have helped leak election machinery data, in pursuit of broader far-right conspiracy theories. Talking Points Memo published a good summary of the story yesterday:
According to the indictment, Peters and [her deputy Belinda Knisley] allegedly devised and executed a scheme to breach security protocols that led to the distribution of confidential information from county election systems. And to carry out the scheme, the indictment alleged, Peters committed criminal impersonation against a Colorado man whose name was used for an access badge for county election offices.
Peters has denied wrongdoing and has claimed she’s trying to expose a larger conspiracy involving voting machines.
As part of her efforts, the Colorado Republican has been celebrated by the likes of Steve Bannon — he’s argued that Peters has been targeted because of her fight against “this globalist apparatus” — and has been promoted by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.
And in case this weren’t quite enough, Peters last month launched a GOP campaign to become Colorado’s secretary of state. If she wins, this would put Peters in a position to help supervise the state’s elections.
She has not yet received any endorsements from national party leaders.