Republican Tina Peters hit with contempt of court citation in Mesa County –

In this file photo, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters speaks at a rally on Dec. 1, 2021, outside the old Mesa County Courthouse in Grand Junction,

In this file photo, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters speaks at a rally on Dec. 1, 2021, outside the old Mesa County Courthouse in Grand Junction,
Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters was ordered on Wednesday to appear later this month before a Mesa County District Court judge on a contempt of court citation alleging that she lied to another judge about videotaping a court hearing.
Peters, a Republican candidate for Colorado secretary of state, is also facing separate misdemeanor obstruction charges stemming from the incident in Grand Junction when law enforcement officers attempted to serve a search warrant while investigating the allegation.
District Court Judge Lance Philip Timbreza set a March 31 court date for Peters on the contempt citation.
“While criminal charges are possible in this type of situation, such a charge would result in considerable expense and delays in the court’s ability to address Peters’ conduct,” said 21st Judicial District Attorney Daniel Rubinstein in a release. “A contempt citation, if proven, permits the judge to more quickly determine what the appropriate remedy or punishment should be for Peters’ actions.”
Peters is also under investigation by state and federal authorities, including Rubinstein, on allegations she helped facilitate a voting equipment security breach last summer. No arrests have been made in that investigation, Rubinstein noted.
A spokesman for Peters’s legal defense fund told Colorado Politics that Peters anticipates being vindicated. 
“Fortunately in the United States of America, a citizen is afforded the right to a trial by her peers — not judgment by a partisan political witch hunt,” political consultant Rory McShane said in an email. “Clerk Peters looks forward to her vindication in this matter — but will not be deterred from exposing serious election vulnerabilities.”
Timbreza’s order says Peters will have the opportunity to tell Judge Valerie J. Robison why she shouldn’t be held in contempt and face sanctions on allegations she wasn’t truthful on Feb. 7, when Judge Matthew D. Barrett asked Peters if she had been using a tablet computer to record a routine motions hearing in his courtroom. Robison was assigned to hear the contempt case after Barnett recused himself.
The case Barrett was hearing involves Peters’s deputy clerk, Belinda Knisley, who faces burglary and misdemeanor cybercrime charges triggered when she allegedly ignored a court order last summer to stay away from the clerk’s office. The order was related to an internal county investigation into complaints that Knisley had created a hostile work environment by allegedly discouraging fellow employees from cooperating with authorities who were investigating the county’s election security breach.
Multiple witnesses — including Knisley’s sister, Patricia Weaver — said they saw Peters recording events in Barrett’s courtroom on Feb. 7, accounting to court documents, and courtroom surveillance footage appears to show Peters in the gallery holding an iPad upright, with its camera facing the proceedings.
“According to the affidavits, employees with the District Attorney’s office observed Peters video recording the proceedings,” Timbreza wrote in order issuing the contempt citation. “To be clear, according to the affidavits they did not just see Peters holding up the iPad as if she was utilizing the video recording application on the iPad. They observed the recording actually occurring.”
While electronic recording and broadcasting are forbidden inside Mesa County courtrooms, the judge wrote that Peters might not have been aware of the prohibition when Barrett asked her whether she’d been recording.
“Instead of being untruthful,” the judge wrote, Peters could have apologized to the judge and deleted the video, whether or not she was aware of the rule.
“According to the affiants, Peters chose a different path: dishonesty,” the judge wrote. “This act, if true, interfered with justice and offended the dignity of the court.”

Republican secretary of state candidate Pam Anderson responded to Monday’s announcement that Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters is entering the GOP primary for the seat with a call for a “return to professionalism” in the office and a vow to serve as a “fair referee” overseeing Colorado’s elections.
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By Kwetu Buzz

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