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Politics and Government

Judge quashes arrest warrant for indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters after her prohibited travel to Nevada

Mesa County District Court Judge Matthew David Barrett ruled that Peters must inform the court and receive permission to travel out of state in the future

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, a candidate for Colorado Secretary of State, in Adams County on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Steve Peterson, Special to The Colorado Sun)
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A judge quashed an arrest warrant for indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters on Friday that was issued after she traveled to Nevada without permission in violation of her bond conditions. 

Mesa County District Court Judge Matthew David Barrett said he was giving Peters, a Republican, a second chance in part because her criminal defense attorney, Harvey Steinberg, took responsibility for Peters not knowing about a court order Monday prohibiting her from leaving Colorado without permission.

“It will not happen again,” Barrett said during a court hearing Friday afternoon. “It will not happen again. She has resources to disappear.”

Barrett ruled that Peters must inform the court and receive permission to travel out of state in the future, but otherwise kept her bond conditions intact.

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“Defendant is a flight risk,” Barrett said, citing Peters’ access to financial backing and private jet travel. “Period.”

Peters was indicted in March on 10 counts, including allegations of attempting to influence a public servant and criminal impersonation. The charges stem from a security breach of her county’s election system last year surrounding a sensitive election software update.

Peters, an election conspiracy theorist, was running for Colorado secretary of state but lost in the June 28 Republican primary.

Peters was in Las Vegas on Tuesday to attend a Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association conference. Additionally, Peters signed a notarized letter to Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold on Monday seeking a recount of the Republican primary for secretary of state, which Peters lost. The letter was notarized by a notary in Clark County, Nevada.

Rubinstein agreed to let Peters travel out of state while she was running for secretary of state after Steinberg, her attorney, said that she needed to do so as part of her bid for higher office. Peters’ travels in recent months included a trip to the Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida, the resort owned by former President Donald Trump.

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But Rubinstein filed a motion Monday asking Barrett to require that any out-of-state travel by Peters be approved.

“Ms. Peters has lost the election and is no longer a candidate,” Rubinstein wrote in the motion. “The people believe that Ms. Peters needs to be treated like all other criminal defendants on bond and needs to file a motion asking for a modification of her bond conditions, and get permission from the court prior to traveling. Ms. Peters has less motivation to appear in court now that she is no longer a candidate. Additionally, she has evidenced through her travel prior to the election that she has the means to flee if she wants to.”

Barrett agreed to temporarily prohibit Peters from traveling out of state without court approval pending a hearing on the matter. A warrant was issued for Peters’ arrest because the trip to Nevada was not approved.

But Steinberg says he made a mistake and didn’t see the Monday order and thus didn’t tell Peters about it. He also didn’t relay to the court that Peters would be out of state this week even though Peters told him about her plans.

Tina Peters, a candidate for Colorado Secretary of State, speaks to supporters at her election watch party in Sedalia, Colo., on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert)

But during the court hearing Friday it was revealed that Peters departed for Las Vegas on Monday, a day before she told her attorneys she would be traveling to Nevada.

“I am concerned that my orders are not being followed given what I’ve heard today,” Barrett said. “I’m concerned that her attorneys will not follow through on their obligations because of what I’ve heard here today.”

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Mesa County Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley and the former Mesa County elections manager, Sandra Brown, have also been charged in the election system security breach.

Peters says she is innocent and the prosecution against her is politically motivated.

Peters is among a slate of Republican 2020 election deniers who lost their primary bids in Colorado last month.


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