Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters speaks out about grand jury indictment
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - One day after posting bond, Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters is speaking out for the first time about the grand jury indictments against her and Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley.
Peters was in court this morning for a scheduled hearing for her obstruction charges stemming from her arrest last month. She was taken into custody as the district attorney’s office was serving a search warrant for Peters’ iPad. The DA’s office believed the iPad contained an illegally recorded court proceeding. DA investigators called in the Grand Junction Police Department when they said Peters was being uncooperative and obstructing.
After her hearing this morning, Peters read a written statement outside the courtroom addressing the indictment, and she says the indictment is politically motivated and she was doing her duty.
“I stand here in front of this building that’s intended to hold murders and violent criminals,” said Peters. “But for the past 24 hours, District Attorney Dan Rubinstein converted the facility into a political prison. I’m innocent, and a jury of my Mesa County peers will agree I was protecting them.”
Both Peters and Knisley have been accused of tampering with election equipment, and in regards to her March 10 hearing which she attended virtually while in the Mesa County Detention Facility, she accuses the district attorney’s office of being unethical.
“The district attorney orchestrated today’s political drama and yesterday’s political drama by making the unethical demand that I present half a million dollars in cash out of my pocket, or I would be incarcerated,” said Peters.
The judge in the case reduced her bond to $25,000 and Belinda Knisley’s bond to $10,000. One condition of Peters’ bond would be that she needed to surrender her passport. Both Peters and Knisley also must not have any contact with anyone working in the clerk and recorder’s office as well.
Peters further claimed the indictment is another attempt for the district attorney to sway voters.
“Rubinstein knew that the information he presented to his Mesa County grand jury concerning my attempts to protect the people of Colorado cannot reasonably be considered wrong-doing,” said Peters. “He knew that his chances to influence the voters regarding the race for Secretary of State were very limited based on the low threshold of proof needed by his grand jury.”
Peters said while she was in the Mesa County Detention Facility, she received news that her father had died, but she didn’t learn about it, until the next day. That’s when she said the DA’s office contacted her daughter about it because they didn’t believe her.
The DA’s office called my daughter 15 minutes after I did the court date in the jail asking my daughter about my father’s death,” said Peters. “That is egregious and uncalled for behavior by a law enforcement person.”
While Peters awaits her next court date, she said she will continue to work for the people in Mesa County.
KKCO reached out to District Attorney Dan Rubinstein, and he replied,
“I was not part of setting the bond at $500,000. I was neither consulted about it, nor was I aware that the judge set the bond at that amount. At no time have I requested any specific bond amount for Ms. Peters.
The claim that these charges are motivated by an interest in her bid for secretary of state or an attempt to influence that race is silly. The grand jury investigation was launched more than a month before she announced that she was running for secretary of state and was even launched before her announcement that she was running for clerk.
Regarding the charges and her claim that I know or believe that her conduct cannot be reasonably considered to be wrongdoing: The legislature decides what is illegal, not me. The grand jury applied the facts the witnesses told them to the laws the legislature enacted to conclude she violated the offenses listed in the indictment.”
Peter’s next court appearance for her indictment is scheduled for May 24.
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