Tina Peters, the clerk of Mesa County, Colorado who’s long been suspected of involvement in a leak of county election machine data last year, was arrested Tuesday.
Peters was briefly held and then released by Grand Junction Police after reportedly resisting a search warrant.
The arrest wasn’t related to the saga of the election machine data leaked from Peters’ office last year: Police had a warrant to collect Peters’ iPad after prosecutors said they noticed her filming a hearing Monday in the criminal case against a deputy in her office, Belinda Knisley.
Police spotted Peters Tuesday morning and moved to enforce the search warrant for her iPad at a coffee shop in Grand Junction, according to local reports.
“Officers with the Grand Junction Police Department responded to a business in the 600 block of Main Steet this morning shortly before 10:45 on a request to assist the District Attorney’s Office with an active investigation,” a spokesperson for the department said.
“County Clerk Tina Peters was arrested and released on scene, pending charges. An arrest affidavit is being submitted and once it becomes available, will be released.”
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported, referring to Peters, that an arrest warrant was “to be issued charging her with obstruction of justice.”
A video from Kyle Clark, a journalist with local NBC affiliate 9 News, appeared to show the arrest occurring:
UPDATE: Republican Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters appeared to attempt to kick a law enforcement officer while struggling with police during her arrest. This is video from a witness. pic.twitter.com/TILJ1198BV— Kyle Clark (@KyleClark) February 8, 2022
Another clip that appeared to show the arrest was broadcast on Steve Bannon’s podcast, War Room.
War Room had a longer clip of Tina Peters being detained, and there’s this magical moment towards the end:— trapezoid of discovery (@get_innocuous) February 8, 2022
after the police ask whoever’s filming to step back, Peter’s says “I want you to do something for me” and motions for them to come closer so she can whisper to them pic.twitter.com/zdJsdZg64K
A spokesperson for Peters’ legal fund, Rory McShane, claimed in a statement that Peters complied with the warrant for her iPad, but that police subsequently attempted to take other property of hers, namely car keys.
According to the text of the warrant affidavit, reported by Colorado Public Radio and other outlets, prosecutors noticed Peters apparently filming the hearing in the middle of the proceeding.
“As the hearing developed, Paralegal Haley Gonzalez and (Deputy District Attorney) D.D.A. Jonathan Mosher noticed a female known to them to be Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters using an Apple iPad to apparently record the proceeding,” the affidavit from investigator Michael Struwe said, according to CPR.
After Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubenstein informed the judge of the situation, the judge, Matthew Barrett, warned the crowd in the courtroom that he would take “appropriate legal action” if he learned of any recording, CPR reported, describing the affidavit. Peters denied recording the hearing.
Officers were serving a warrant to seize Clerk Peters' iPad on which she is suspected of improperly recording a court hearing involving her deputy clerk Belinda Knisley after a judge prohibited recording in the courtroom. It's the white iPad in the courtroom image below. pic.twitter.com/RuX2fv4rul— Kyle Clark (@KyleClark) February 8, 2022
“Mosher reported that when the court addressed the audience about recordings being prohibited, Clerk Peters rotated the iPad, affording him a view of the screen,” the Sentinel reported, quoting from the same affidavit. “He advised the iPad screen had the iPad ‘camera’ application running. DDA Mosher saw that the view in the camera application screen was a live view of Judge Barrett’s courtroom from the iPad’s vantage point.”
Peters is a celebrated figure among believers that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. The Colorado Secretary of State’s office successfully sued to have Peters and Knisley removed from election duties last year after sensitive digital information from Mesa County’s voting machines was shared online by a prominent QAnon influencer, and in-person at Mike Lindell’s “Cyber Symposium” in Sioux Falls in August.
Peters’ office had allegedly arranged for an unauthorized person to have access to the county’s election machines around the time when the machines were due for a “trusted build,” or an in-person software update. The leaked information subsequently surfaced at Lindell’s symposium, which Peters attended alongside several associates.
Peters and Knisley have denied all wrongdoing — but the FBI raided Peters’ and others’ homes in November. Last month, Peters announced a reelection bid as both Rubenstein and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced that a Mesa County grand jury was investigating her.