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Federal judge rejects Tina Peters’ attempt to halt her Mesa County criminal trial

Former county clerk’s trial on 10 counts connected to a breach of Mesa County’s election system set to begin Feb. 7
Tina Peters speaks during a debate on Feb. 25, 2023, in Hudson, Colo. A former Colorado county clerk accused of illegally accessing her election system has avoided jail time for a misdemeanor obstruction conviction in another case. A judge sentenced Peters on Monday, April 10, 2023, to 120 hours of community service and four months of home detention with an ankle monitor for trying to prevent authorities from taking an iPad she allegedly used to videotape a court hearing. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

A federal judge Monday dismissed a lawsuit brought by former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters that sought to bar authorities from prosecuting her on charges related to a 2021 security breach of her county’s election system.

Peters, who faces trial next month on 10 counts in the alleged breach, filed the lawsuit in November seeking to halt all local, state and federal criminal investigations and prosecutions against her. The suit named U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Mesa County District Attorney Daniel Rubinstein as defendants.

U.S. District Judge Nina Wang granted Rubinstein’s motion to dismiss the entire case, in which Peters alleged he and others were retaliating against her and curbing her free speech rights. In doing so, Wang also dismissed Peters’ request for a preliminary injunction halting her upcoming trial.

Wang ruled that Peters failed to “offer sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the prosecution was substantially motivated by a bad faith motive or was brought to harass.” Wang also criticized the evidence presented by Peters and her attorney, former Secretary of State Scott Gessler, writing “some of the documents do not even address the factual allegations for which they are cited.”

Peters is scheduled to go to trial Feb. 7 on charges stemming from her actions during an election software update in May 2021. A grand jury indicted her on felony and misdemeanor charges in March 2022, including attempting to influence a public official and criminal impersonation.

Wang also ruled that Rubinstein is entitled to have his legal costs reimbursed.

After being indicted in 2022, Peters ran unsuccessfully for the GOP secretary of state nomination, losing by nearly 90,000 votes. Since then, she’s continued to promote falsehoods that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.

She also ran unsuccessfully this year to be chair of the Colorado GOP.

In a separate case, Peters in April was sentenced to home detention and community service for trying to prevent authorities from seizing an iPad she used to make a prohibited recording of a court hearing for one of her former deputies. The sentence was stayed pending an appeal. Peters was also held in contempt of court for making the recording and fined $1,500.

Peters posted to social media last week that her former husband recently died, and she posted links to her website seeking donations to cover her court costs for her upcoming trial.

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