Indicted Colorado clerk will remain free after Vegas trip

DENVER (AP) — An indicted Colorado clerk who has become a hero to election conspiracy theorists will remain free on bond but will have to get court permission before traveling out of state, a judge ruled Friday.

Judge Matthew Barrett canceled an arrest warrant for Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters he issued after she traveled by private plane to Las Vegas on Monday to speak at a sheriffs’ conference just hours after he ruled she could not leave Colorado. The flight on a private plane was also a day before Peters had previously told her lawyers she planned to leave.

Peters’ lead lawyer, Harvey Steinberg, said he did not learn of the order barring travel until after Peters left because his personal assistant, whom he relies on to open digital court filings, was out of town.

Barrett said it was “unfathomable” that no one told Peters about the order even though she has three lawyers. He noted that records show one of them opened the order shortly after it was issued.

Steinberg said he is the only lawyer on the team responsible for talking to Peters, who has appeared regularly with prominent allies of former President Donald Trump who claim without evidence that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

Peters lost a bid to become the Republican candidate for Colorado secretary of state in last month’s primary election. During her campaign, she was allowed to travel outside Colorado after filing a notice with the court. Now that the campaign is over, Barrett said she must file a motion to travel out of Colorado and wait for it to be approved before she can leave, noting that she was a flight risk because she had access to resources including private jets.

“You leave one minute before you tell me you are going to leave, that’s a violation of your bond,” he said.

Prosecutors learned Peters was in Las Vegas after seeing a letter she sent requesting a recount in her race that was notarized in Las Vegas on Tuesday and asked for her bond to be revoked. Barrett granted their request but noted Friday they could have contacted Peters’ lawyers after finding out she was at the sheriffs’ conference, where she spoke publicly during a livestreamed appearance, to help resolve the situation.

“It’s not like she got on a plane and disappeared,” he said.

According to court documents, Peters is accused of working with two employees in her office to allow an unauthorized person to make a copy of the county’s election equipment hard drive during an update last year.

Peters is charged with three counts of attempting to influence a public servant, criminal impersonation, two counts of conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation, one count of identity theft, first-degree official misconduct, violation of duty and failing to comply with the secretary of state.

She has denied wrongdoing and called the charges politically motivated.

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