Former Mesa County clerk Tina Peters was sentenced Monday in Grand Junction to four months of home detention and will be required to perform community service following her conviction last month on a misdemeanor charge of obstructing government operations, but the sentence will be stayed pending the outcome of her appeal.
Peters was convicted on March 3 by a jury in Mesa County on the charge for refusing to turn over an iPad authorities allege she used to record a court hearing in defiance of a judge's instructions.
In addition to the period of house arrest while outfitted with an ankle monitor, Peters has been ordered to perform 120 hours of community service and pay a $750 fine, KKCO reported.
She faced as much as 120 days in jail and a maximum $750 in fines on the misdemeanor charge.
The charge Peters was sentenced on is separate from criminal charges she faces related to allegations Peters facilitated the breach the county's secure election equipment in 2021 in an attempt to find evidence that Colorado's voting system is rigged.
Peters has pleaded not guilty to seven felony and four misdemeanor charges in that case, which is scheduled to go to trial in October.
Peters told Colorado Politics after Monday's sentencing hearing that the charge is part of a "harassment" campaign being waged against her by local and state prosecutors who are trying to punish her for exposing what she maintains are issues with Colorado's voting system.
"This has the appearance of continued harassment on behalf of a DA and AG that wants to persecute me," she said in an email, referencing Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstien, a Republican, and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.
"It appears the Joe Biden/Merrick Garland administration has done all (this) to pressure those in their ability to influence that I am the criminal to hide the fact of their offenses," Peters added.
Peters is a prominent national advocate for the baseless theory that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.
Last month, Peters lost a bid to chair the Colorado Republican Party, but former state Rep. Dave Williams, the Colorado Springs Republican who won the leadership election, told Colorado Politics last month that he wants Peters to play a role handling "election integrity" matters for the state GOP.
Williams said in a text message Monday that he hopes Peters' appeal is successful, adding that the judge's order appeared to be "measured, especially considering the district attorneys' zealous desire to seek jail time for a minor offense."
Williams said Peters hasn't assumed a formal role with the state party.
"Given (this) unfortunate turn of events for Tina, it’s perhaps beneficial that she has not accepted a role with our party so she can instead focus on her legal defense efforts for her future court proceedings," Williams said.
Peters lost a GOP primary last summer for secretary of state, Colorado's top election official. She didn't seek reelection to a second term as county clerk.
Police handcuffed and briefly detained Peters on Feb. 8, 2022, after she tried to kick one of the officers at a Grand Junction bagel shop while local prosecutors attempted to seize an iPad under a search warrant, according to the arrest affidavit.
Authorities said they were seeking to determine if Peters had recorded portions of a court hearing a day earlier involving a former subordinate after the judge had reminded Peters that use of electronic recording devices was prohibited in the courtroom.
That hearing involved Belinda Knisley, a former Mesa County chief deputy clerk, who had been suspended the previous year based on allegations she created a hostile work environment. She was later also charged in the voting system data breach.
Witnesses at Peters' trial in March testified that she repeatedly told investigators that the iPad wasn't hers and belonged to someone named Tammy Bailey, though her lawyer, Harvey Steinberg, said that the name was an alias used by Peters, possibly for security reasons, The Associated Press reported.
Knisley and another former clerk's office employee, Sandra Brown, both pleaded guilty last year and agreed to testify against Peters in the election equipment tampering case.
Editor's note: This developing story has been updated to reflect that Peters was referring to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland when she contended that authorities have been harassing her.
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