Republican county clerk indicted in scheme to leak voting-machine passwords

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A photo of Tina Peters.

A grand jury in Colorado yesterday indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters on 10 prices associated to the leak of voting-system BIOS passwords and different confidential data that ended up being revealed by QAnon conspiracy theorist Ron Watkins. Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley was indicted on six counts.

Arrest warrants had been issued for each Peters and Knisley, and bond was set at $500,000 for every lady. Peters, a Republican, final month introduced she intends to run for secretary of state, saying that “Colorado deserves a secretary of state who will stand as much as the Biden administration that desires to run our nation into the bottom with nationalized elections.”

In April and Might 2021, Peters and Knisley “devised and executed a misleading scheme which was designed to affect public servants, breach safety protocols, exceed permissible entry to voting tools, and set in movement the eventual distribution of confidential data to unauthorized individuals,” the indictment mentioned. “Moreover, these defendants, with out permission or lawful authorization, additionally used the identify and private figuring out data of Gerald ‘Jerry’ Wooden to additional their felony scheme. This illegal use of Mr. Wooden’s id by Tina Peters and Belinda Knisley additionally subjected Mr. Wooden to varied types of legal responsibility and felony publicity.”

Peters has promoted former President Donald Trump’s conspiracy principle that voting machines had been manipulated to assist Joe Biden win the presidency. The FBI and native legislation enforcement raided Peters’ dwelling in November as a part of the investigation into the voting-machine safety breach. She was additionally arrested and briefly detained by police final month when she was accused of resisting a search warrant.

Trusted construct assembly not so reliable

The indictment from a Mesa County grand jury charged Peters with three counts of trying to affect a public servant, felony impersonation, two counts of conspiracy to commit felony impersonation, id theft, first-degree official misconduct, violation of obligation, and failing to adjust to necessities issued by the secretary of state. Knisley was charged with three counts of trying to affect a public servant, conspiracy to commit felony impersonation, violation of obligation, and failing to adjust to necessities issued by the secretary of state.

The indictment facilities on a Might 2021 assembly a few “trusted construct” software program replace that was supposed to make sure a safe chain of custody for the voting system. Earlier than the assembly, Knisley had an IT worker shut off the surveillance cameras within the election workplaces. “Knisley said in an interview that Tina Peters directed her to show off the cameras,” the indictment mentioned. Jessi Romero, who’s the voting programs supervisor for the secretary of state’s workplace, instructed the grand jury “that Mesa County’s election employees had traditionally at all times stored their varied safety surveillance cameras on and working,” the indictment mentioned.

In April, Peters’ workplace requested the secretary of state’s workplace to let members of the general public watch the trusted construct, however Romero “knowledgeable Mesa County’s election employees that solely required personnel from Dominion Voting Programs, the [secretary of state’s office], and the county will likely be permitted within the trusted construct.”



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