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Mesa County judge issues embattled GOP Clerk Tina Peters contempt citation

While executing a warrant at a bagel shop, Grand Junction police officers seized the iPad Peters was accused of recording with.

DENVER — A Mesa County District Court judge on Wednesday issued embattled Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters (R) a contempt citation for allegedly recording a court proceeding with an iPad against a judge's orders.

The Mesa County District Court judge cited Peters with "indirect contempt," meaning contempt that happens in direct sight or hearing of the court (judge), but not contempt that the court (judge) hears or sees. The citation is for "indirect contempt" because the judge did not have firsthand knowledge of the alleged recording.

The citation stems from a court hearing last month involving Peters' deputy clerk, Belinda Knisley, who is facing burglary and cybercrime charges. According to an affidavit, Knisley went into the clerk's office in late August despite being on administrative leave for "inappropriate, unprofessional conduct in the workplace." Knisley is also accused of using a computer in Peters' office while Peters away after a breach of Mesa County election data.

A judge prohibited recording during the Knisley hearing. In determining a contempt citation, the Mesa County District Court judge wrote: "According to the affidavits, they [DA employees] did not just see Peters holding up the iPad as if she was [recording]. They observed the recording actually occurring."

Grand Junction police officers later seized the iPad while executing a warrant at a downtown bagel shop. Peters is seen on video struggling with those officers and also faces an obstruction charge related to that incident.

Separate from these events, Peters remains the subject of local and federal investigations related to the security breach, in which the county's election software passwords ending up online. Peters is accused of allowing a person from outside of the clerk's office to make a copy of Mesa County's Dominion Voting Systems hard drives. 

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