FBI Raids Home of Election Clerk Alleged to Be Involved in Equipment Security Breach

A task force of different law enforcement agencies conducted searches of four locations in Colorado Tuesday as part of an investigation into a potential security breach involving elections equipment from earlier this year.

One of the locations searched was the home of Tina Peters, elections clerk for Mesa County, according to Colorado Politics.

"The FBI raided my home at 6 a.m. this morning, accusing me of committing a crime," Peters said in a Tuesday appearance on an online news channel run by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. "And they raided the homes of my friends, mostly older women. I was terrified."

According to the Associated Press, the investigation stems from images of Colorado election equipment management software appearing on far-right blogs earlier this year.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold's office alleges that one of the images was taken on May 23, in a secure Mesa County location where the voting equipment is stored. Griswold says Peters accessed the room the day of the photo, and allegedly let an unauthorized person into the room.

After the photo was discovered, Griswold sued to have Peters removed as elections clerk. Peters is currently being investigated by the FBI and Colorado state officials over the alleged breach, and Griswold successfully sued to prevent Peters and another elections deputy from administering the November midterm elections.

Peters has since become an advocate for those like Lindell who claim the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, although she says Mesa County's election, which was won by Trump, was secure.

Peters has made several appearances on Lindell's online news channel, claiming Griswold's lawsuit against her was an attempt by the Democrat to take over one of the few conservative counties in the state. Colorado was won by Biden and has a Democratic governor and elected Democrats across the state legislature.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Tina Peters, Colorado, Elections Security, Voter Fraud
A multiagency task force executed search warrants Tuesday at four locations in western Colorado, including Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters' home amid an ongoing investigation into allegations that Peters was involved in a security breach of elections equipment earlier this year. Above, Peters reads a June 2020 update on the election in Grand Junction, Colorado. (McKenzie Lange/The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel via AP, File) McKenzie Lange/The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel via AP File

The FBI, the Colorado Attorney General's office and local authorities conducted the searches, which were authorized by a federal court, on Tuesday in Mesa and neighboring Garfield counties, Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein told Colorado Politics.

Rubinstein didn't disclose the locations that were searched, telling AP in an email that "all documents related to these operations are sealed" by court order.

The FBI office in Denver didn't immediately respond to an email requesting comment. Lawrence Pacheco, spokesman for Attorney General Phil Weiser, said the state is working with Mesa County on an investigation into the alleged election system breach but could not comment further on the continuing probe.

The searches came amid an ongoing dispute between Peters, who presided over elections in conservative Mesa County in 2020, and Griswold, a Democrat and vocal presence nationally for ensuring election integrity.

Colorado Politics reported that Peters commented about the searches during an appearance on an online channel operated by Lindell, a supporter of Peters and Trump, who has repeatedly made discredited claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

Belinda Knisley, Mesa County elections deputy clerk, was suspended and charged with felony second-degree burglary and a cybercrime misdemeanor count by Rubinstein's office. Knisley also has denied wrongdoing.

The (Grand Junction) Daily Sentinel reported that an arrest warrant affidavit alleges Knisley entered a "building or structure with intent to commit a crime against another person or property."

After Griswold filed the lawsuit, Peters was absent from Colorado for several weeks.

Griswold's office has identified the person it says was allowed into the secure room but has refused to say anything more about who he is or why he was there. The AP isn't naming him until more information becomes available. He has not been charged with a crime.

Tina Peters, Colorado, Elections Security, Voter Fraud
Tina Peters, accused of allowing a security breach involving Colorado election equipment, is an outspoken advocate of the idea that the 2020 election was fraudulent and stolen from former President Donald Trump. Above, a woman, one of just a few protesters present, holds a sign opposing the results of the election outside the Colorado State Capitol on January 17, 2021, in Denver, Colorado. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images