MESA COUNTY, Colo. – Springing from an investigation into creating a hostile work environment for her employees, alleged actions by mesa county deputy clerk Belinda Knisley led to an arrest warrant.
Mesa County’s District Attorney says she is charged with crimes of second-degree burglary and cyber-crime,
According to an arrest affidavit; days after being placed on paid administrative leave, asked to not have contact with anyone in the office, and having all access to computer passwords revoked, she was discovered inside secure areas of the office using Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peter’s computer passwords and email.
“It has been reported to us that she was back in the building and that she was back on the computer system, in violation of those directives,” says Mesa County’s District Attorney Dan Rubenstein.
Knisley has since turned herself in to the 21st Judicial District Court as of Wednesday.
This is the second investigation the District Attorney’s Office has launched in the last month into Mesa County’s Clerk and Recorders Office,
“Belinda Knisley’s charges are separate from two criminal investigations focusing on Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters,” says KREX5’s Reilly Spence.
The District Attorney’s Office and the FBI are still actively investigating Peter’s role in the election security breach.
The Secretary of State’s Office tells our Denver affiliates they are now asking a judge to formally remove Peters as Clerk and Recorder,
“We are taking the necessary steps to remove clerk Peters as the designated election official, and that has several consequences; I can put a supervisor on top of the election by law but I cannot remove the designated election official, so we’re asking a judge to remove her,” explains Secretary of State Jena Griswold.
There is no information showing clerk Peters has returned to her office since August 9th.
The Secretary of State says with November elections approaching quickly she expects Colorado and Mesa County specifically, to have safe and secure voting.
Knisley is presumed innocent at this point in the investigation.
However if found guilty, her second-degree burglary charge is a class 4 felony punishable by up to six years in prison and a $500,000 fine.