Feb 14, 2022 - News

Tina Peters' arrest amplifies election conspiracies in Colorado

Illustration of the outline of Mesa County, CO and an interrobang.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

The Tina Peters turmoil is only getting stranger β€” and more alarming.

The latest: The Mesa County clerk β€” a prominent player in the unfounded theories about 2020 election fraud β€” kicked and cursed at police officers who were arresting her for resisting a search warrant, according to body camera footage released Friday.

  • Peters, a Republican, attempted to prevent officers from obtaining her iPad on Tuesday, according to the Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction. She now faces two misdemeanor charges of obstructing justice.
  • Prosecutors seized the device after she allegedly improperly video recorded a court hearing regarding harassment complaints against her deputy. She told the judge she wasn't recording.

Why it matters: The warrant and criminal charges are not related to the numerous ongoing federal and state investigations into Peters regarding election tampering, wire fraud and other campaign finance violations.

What they're saying: So far, prominent Republicans are keeping mum on the situation.

  • Colorado GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown told 9News after Peters' arrest that the party "believes in law and order," adding "the legal process should work its way out."

Context: Peters is pushing unfounded claims that Colorado, where Trump lost by 13.5 percentage points to now President Biden, destroyed election records and committed other fraudulent acts.

  • She says 29,000 election files were discarded, but her own election division says they are backed up.

The other side: Peters dismisses all the controversy surrounding her.

  • "Things are changing, and moving towards freedom. I won't quit against corruption," she told supporters in January, as she announced her bid for a second term.

The intrigue: Two days after her arrest, right-wing group FEC United hosted an "emergency town hall" in Castle Rock with Peters and other election conspiracy theorists, including Colorado lawmaker and U.S. Senate candidate Ron Hanks.

  • At the event, one person accused Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold of election fraud, and then said such people "deserve to hang."
  • Griswold told 9News she reported the threat to law enforcement.

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