Grand jury will weigh possible charges in Mesa Clerk case

Stina Sieg/CPR News
Supporters of Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters rally outside her office, August 21, 2021.

The investigation of Mesa’s County Clerk and Recorder is being turned over to a Grand Jury. The panel will weigh allegations of election equipment tampering and official misconduct against Tina Peters. 

“The Mesa County grand jury accepted the case on January 12 and will assist with the investigation,” said a statement from Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser. 

The written statement noted the grand jury’s deliberations will be secret to ensure the process is fair for witnesses and those under investigation. Peters has been under criminal investigation by state and federal officials for months.

“This investigation will be thorough and guided by the facts and the law. More information will be made available when the prosecutors are ethically and legally permitted to provide additional details,” the statement reads. “To maintain the impartiality of the investigation, we have no further comment at this time.”

It’s now been about six months since news first broke of a security breach of Mesa County’s election equipment. Clerk Peters, a Republican, allowed an unauthorized person to access the voting machines and attend a secure update of their software. That individual, allegedly using the stolen identity of a local man named Gerald Wood, took pictures and made copies of the hard drives, with the images ending up posted online.

Peters has long maintained that she has the legal authority to investigate what she believes was voter fraud on the county’s Dominion Voting Machines, and said she thinks the data copied from the county’s machines contains evidence of that.

“I believe the Grand Jury has a right and duty to see the same evidence that I have," Peters said in a written statement responding to news that her case will go to a grand jury. "The evidence appears conclusive that (Secretary of State) Jena Griswold’s office violated federal and state law in destroying our county’s election records last May.”

Security experts say the records she’s provided do not indicate anything improper happened with the machines.

Peters attorneys are requesting a time, date, and venue to present their evidence to the grand jury.

A required post-election audit conducted under Peter’s oversight found no irregularities with the 2020 tally.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect that authorities believe Gerald Wood was not involved in the copying of the hard drives.