Tina Peters found guilty of obstruction of government operations in court recording case

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters leaves her arraignment on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, at Mesa County District Court in Grand Junction on seven felony charges — including attempting to influence a public servant, identity theft, criminal impersonation and conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation — and three misdemeanors.

In a split verdict, a jury found former Mesa County clerk Tina Peters guilty of obstructing government operations for an incident that occurred last year, while acquitting her of a charge of obstructing a police officer.

Peters’ sentencing on the class two misdemeanor conviction is scheduled for April 10. She could face up to a $750 fine and three months in jail.

The case is separate, but not entirely unrelated to, Peters’ legal troubles for allegedly helping someone breach the security of her office’s election equipment and lying about their identity to state officials.

It started when Peters’ attended a court hearing last February for her deputy clerk, Belinda Knisley, who faced burglary and cyber crimes charges for returning to the clerk’s office after being ordered to stay away while the election security case was investigated.

A paralegal noticed that Peters’ appeared to be video recording the hearing on her iPad, in violation of courtroom rules. When asked about it by the judge, Peters denied she’d been recording.

Shortly afterward, investigators from the District Attorney’s office attempted to seize Peters’ iPad to look for evidence of a recording. Peters, who was at a bagel shop at the time, allegedly refused to turn over the device and resisted police officers. The interaction was recorded by other patrons in the restaurant.

Peters’ trial for tampering with the Mesa County election equipment is scheduled for Aug. 10.