GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — Our Dylan Malfatti sits down with Gerald and Wendi Wood to discuss how they got caught up in the legal turmoil surrounding Tina Peters and her alleged election equipment tampering.
How it Started
The Woods are an ordinary family. Wendi works as a church pastor while Jerry works as a software engineer. Unfortunately for Jerry his work was the very thing that led him into the heart of a legal firestorm.
Jerry Wood tells us he met Tina Peters through various meetings of a Western Colorado group of citizens analyzing results from the 2020 general and 2021 municipal elections. Through an event organized by Sherronna Bishop (Lauren Boebert’s former campaign manager.) Dr. Douglas Frank visited Grand Junction to present his analysis of the 2020 election. Jerry Wood volunteered to help in this effort and Bishop later referred him to Tina Peters. Wood says Peters approached him about performing consultation work for the county clerk’ office. Following a background check, Peter’s, as Mesa County Clerk and Recorder, issued Wood a Mesa County identification badge to do what she said would amount to a routine backup of software, which Peters allegedly indicated to Wood Mesa County’s IT department was either not willing or able to do. That’s when something strange happened.
Dylan Malfatti: Somebody kept that badge
Jerry Wood: “Yes.”
DYLAN: Who was it, do you know?
JERRY: “Well, um, Tina’s office. Technically, I handed it in to her deputy clerk Bellinda, but I assume Belinda was doing that by Tina’s direction.”
Court documents show Peters, during a “trusted build” or software update of election equipment introduced a stranger as Gerald Wood. That stranger was allegedly wearing a Mesa County Identification Badge. Former pro surfer Conan Hayes, who worked with Trump’s legal team to challenge election results, now, recently admitted to New York Times reporters in June 27, 2022 article he was the mystery man who attended the trusted build of Mesa County election machines. Patrick Byrne, a former executive for the company Overstock admitted to the New York Times Hayes, who was on his payroll, Facetimed with him from inside Mesa County election offices saying a government official invited him to make back up copies of machines. Byrne told the Times he could see Hayes was wearing “someone else’s” identification badge. It wasn’t long after the trusted build, before Grand Junction Police and the Mesa County DA’s office came knocking on Jerry Wood’s door, unannounced, while Jerry was out of town Mike Lindell’s Cyber Symposium in South Dakota.
Wendi Wood: “9 PM on a Wednesday night, August 11th and the DA’s office and the Sheriff’s Department was there. Immediately came in, took our phones, had us sit on the couch. Detained us for a couple of hours while they searched and siezed our electronics.”
JERRY: “Wendi and the kids got their phones back from the Sheriff’s department the next day.”
Three months later the FBI showed up in another harrowing search and confiscated the rest of their electronics, kids’ laptops, computers, iPads, ect. Jerry Wood says those devices are still with authorities.
JERRY: “We’re still waiting to have all of that resolved. We’re told maybe in 3-5 years.”
Jerry tells us he’s convinced his role in Peter’s alleged election equipment tampering was no accident.
JERRY: “You know, it feels like this was set up from the beginning, that they never intended to use me as an IT consultant.”
It isn’t just Jerry and Wendi effected by all of this. It’s been hard on their children too.
JERRY: “They were really wondering what was gonna happen, if we were gonna lose our home, you know I’d lose my job, they didn’t know if I was gonna go to prison, they didn’t know what was gonna happen. We’ve had to have some hard conversations with them and encourage them to hang on. Wendi encourages them to trust me and not lose faith.”
Wood has been a silent and mysterious figure through much of Peter’s scandal, preferring to keep to himself despite uncounted rumors with no basis in fact lodged against him and spread about him, he says. That all changed when Peters, currently facing seven felonies and three misdemeanors for the May 2021 election equipment security breach, appeared on Jimmy Sengenberger’s KNUS radio show in Denver and verbally attacked Wood. In a June 27 article for the Denver Gazette, Sengenberger says Peters accused Wood of perjury on his show, saying, quote: “I think about the gentleman (Wood), he perjured himself on the stand. We know that. And He’s going to have to deal with that.” Peters told Sengenberger. The Woods broke their silence to refuse Peter’ accusations with Jimmy Sengenberger, June 25th in the second hour of his three-hour Saturday morning show.
Peter’s further intensified her attacks against Wood in a June 28, KCNC interview with reporter Sean Boyd claiming Wood knew she would use his badge for someone else and approved it. Peter’s even claimed on Joe Oltman’s show June 27th it was Wood endangering the man who allegedly copied elections equipment. Peters also revealed during the show Wood told her, ” he did not know how to do a forensic image… and so he would never have been put in that role.” Wood says there is no truth to Peter’s claims and he feels she’s attempting to “throw him under the bus.”
If there’s one thing the Woods have taken from this entire ordeal, they say it’s the importance of knowing and understanding the difference between rumors, conspiracies, and truth.
WENDI: If we want to be people that are upright and have integrity, that we take those things and we test them, and we’re willing to accept truth over our story–our own narrative.
Something they now realize many are not willing to do. The couple and their family have receive hate as Tina Peter’s takes to the airwaves with her litany of new claims against Wood.
Despite their harrowing experience, both Wendi and Jerry insisted they believe it’s important to take part in the elections process. They encourage all who are able, to vote.