Tina Peters' arrest amplifies election conspiracies in Colorado
The Tina Peters turmoil is only getting stranger — and more alarming.
The latest: The Mesa County clerk — a prominent player in the unfounded theories about 2020 election fraud — 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.
- But they energized local and national conspiracy theorists and amplified calls by the extreme right to defy law enforcement.
- The focus on Peters also raises the stakes of her re-election campaign, where she is backed by former President Trump's supporters.
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.
- Peters downplays that she didn't count more than 500 ballots in the 2019 election.
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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