Tina Peters turns herself in on obstruction charges, released on bond

Mesa County clerk struggled with investigators as they tried to obtain her iPad Tuesday
Posted at 12:14 PM, Feb 10, 2022

DENVER – Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters turned herself in Thursday on two misdemeanor obstruction charges in connection with an incident at a Grand Junction bagel shop earlier this week.

Peters turned herself in to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office at 10:30 a.m. Thursday and posted the $500 bond in her case. She was released with instructions on when to next appear in court, according to the sheriff’s office.

According to court records, Peters faces counts of obstructing a peace officer, a class 2 misdemeanor, and obstructing government operations, a class 3 misdemeanor. An affidavit and warrant obtained by Denver7 on Wednesday only carried the first charge. A spokesperson for the sheriff's office said the second charge was added by the 21st Judicial District Attorney's Office.

The latest charges come after district attorney’s office investigators tried to serve a search warrant Tuesday for Peters’s iPad while she was at the bagel shop. The iPad was allegedly used by Peters to record a court hearing Monday involving her deputy clerk’s burglary and cybercrime charges.

According to an affidavit, when investigators tried to get ahold of the iPad, people started passing it around a table Peters and others were sitting at. DA’s investigators had to call Grand Junction police to assist. They were eventually able to get ahold of the device after a confrontation.

During the confrontation, in which Peters was handcuffed, she allegedly tried to kick one of the officers. She was taken outside, arrested, according to police, and subsequently released.

DA’s investigators told officers not to arrest her at the time because the DA’s office said it believed it could potentially have evidence to file a tampering with evidence charge separately from obstruction charges, according to the affidavit.

In the search warrant for the iPad, investigators said Peters was seen in court during a hearing involving Mesa County Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley, who is accused of being at a county building and using her boss’s computer while she is on administrative leave, possibly recording the hearing, which was prohibited by the court.

While she denied recording the hearing, others in the courtroom said they believed they saw her iPad’s camera turned on after it was pointed toward the courtroom.

Tuesday’s incident comes a little more than three weeks after the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office announced it had convened a grand jury to investigate the allegations of official misconduct and tampering with county election equipment involving Peters and other Mesa County election workers that first came to light last year.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold in mid-January also filed another lawsuit seeking to block Peters from overseeing the 2022 elections, as was the case for the November 2021 election.

There have been multiple investigations into allegations Peters tampered with county election equipment and committed official misconduct after the county’s election system was compromised and images of hard drives were put onto election conspiracy theory websites last year.