Former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters filed a federal lawsuit seeking to ban the government from conducting criminal proceedings against her.
The suit alleges investigations into her actions as clerk are unlawful and retaliation against her for “exercising her freedom of speech, freedom of association and her right to petition the government for the redress of grievances.”
Much of the complaint centers on the allegations that Peters participated in an illegal scheme to copy the hard drives of her county’s voting equipment months after the 2020 election in order to help outside parties search for voter fraud.
She already faces ten state charges, with the case set to go to trial in February. Prosecutors allege that she helped steal the identity of a local man and broke state rules by sneaking an unauthorized observer into a secure update of the voting system software.
In the lawsuit, Peters said she was well within her right to take the actions she did, and that she was just complying with her legal obligations to preserve election records.
“Peters lawfully exercised her authority to arrange for a consultant on May 23, 2021, before the upgrade, to make a forensic image of the Mesa County EMS hard drive. A ‘forensic image’ is a bit-by-bit, non-modifiable (read-only) copy of all the digital data stored on a disk drive,” states the complaint.
Prosecutors allege the man referred to as a consultant was the election conspiracy theorist Conan Hayes, and that he masqueraded under the name and work badge of a local man without his knowledge. Some of the information from the hard drives was later shared online and at an event hosted by Trump supporter and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.
A judge ruled that because of her actions, Peters should not be allowed to have access to the county’s voting machines before the 2021 and 2022 elections. Peters said the claims against her are unequivocally untrue.
“The making and dissemination of the forensic images violated no statute, administrative regulation, rule, or order in existence at any relevant time,” asserts her complaint.
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold is one of the defendants named in the lawsuit, along with U.S Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein. In a written statement Griswold called the lawsuit frivolous.
“Tina Peters compromised her own voting equipment in an attempt to prove the Big Lie and risked her constituents’ constitutional right to vote,” said Griswold. “Her attempts to evade accountability with this frivolous lawsuit will not work.”
The ten state counts Peters is facing include felony charges, among them, attempting to influence a public servant, identity theft, criminal impersonation, and conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation. The misdemeanors include first-degree official misconduct, violation of duty, and failure to comply with the requirements of the secretary of state.
At least one of her former colleagues who allegedly participated in the scheme has agreed to provide evidence to investigators.
Peters ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination for Secretary of State after deciding not to seek a second term in office as clerk.
- Tina Peters sentenced to home detention and a fine in her obstruction case, but it’s stayed pending an appeal
- Tina Peters found guilty of obstruction of government operations in court recording case
- Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters pleads not guilty in election security breach case
- DA investigation refutes Tina Peters’ claims of Mesa County 2020 election fraud
- Mesa Clerk Tina Peters charged in election security breach
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