Colorado clerk ordered to court for allegedly lying to judge

DENVER (AP) — A Colorado county elections clerk under investigation by federal and state authorities for an alleged security breach of voting machines has been ordered to appear in court to respond to allegations that she lied about recording a court hearing.

A judge issued an order Wednesday telling Tina Peters, the clerk and recorder for western Colorado’s Mesa County, to appear in court March 31 to explain why she should not be held in contempt and sanctioned.

She is accused of using her iPad to record a court hearing for an elections deputy, Belinda Knisley, who has been charged in the security breach investigation, but telling the judge she was not doing so. The judge had prohibited any recordings of proceedings.

“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. Clerk Peters looks forward to her vindication in this matter -- but will not be deterred from exposing serious election vulnerabilities,” Peters’ campaign coordinator, Karen Seibold, said in a statement. It was issued in response to a request for comment on the contempt violation as well as a lawsuit attempting to block Peters from overseeing this year’s election.

Peters is among local officials being investigated in a handful of states to determine if they directed or aided suspected security breaches at their own election offices.

A Mesa County grand jury is investigating Peters in connection with allegations of tampering with election equipment.

Peters also is being investigated by the FBI and by Colorado officials in the alleged security breach involving elections equipment in May.

She has previously denied any wrongdoing.

A judge barred Peters from overseeing last year’s election, and Secretary of State Jena Griswold has filed a lawsuit to prevent Peters from being allowed to participate in this year’s too. Peters, meanwhile, is seeking the Republican nomination to run against Griswold and become the state’s top elections official.