GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — After news broke of the arrest warrant for Tina Peters, there were many questions surrounding the search warrant at the center of the incident. Why was it issued, and who issued it? Not to mention: why is her iPad so important? The 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office (DA) issued an affidavit on Feb. 9 answering these questions.
District Attorney Dan Rubinstein’s office issued a search warrant for “an Apple iPad with a white keyboard case located on or about the person of Tina Peters” on the morning of Feb. 8. The warrant was issued on the grounds that it “would be material evidence in a subsequent criminal prosecution.”
The warrant allowed investigators to access the device and the data that was created, stored, or saved to it between the times of 1:02 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 7. During that time, Tina Peters was in attendance at the Mesa County Court as Judge Matthew Barrett began hearing case 21CR1312, the ongoing case against Belinda Knisley.
According to the document, Paralegal Haley Gonzalez and Deputy District Attorney (DDA) Jonathan Mosher noticed that Tina Peters was using an Apple iPad to allegedly record the proceeding. Mosher and Gonzalez also reported hearing Peters claim that she was not recording and those accusing her of recording were not being truthful.
After a request by District Attorney (DA) Rubinstein, a conference was held at the bench where Judge Barrett was made aware of Peters’ actions. After which, Judge Barrett addressed the audience about recordings being prohibited in court, per the posted sign at the entrance, as well as “common sense.” He went on to caution the audience that if he learned of a recording, he would take appropriate legal action.
DDA Mosher reported to investigators that he saw Clerk Peters holding her iPad “in such a manner as to point the rear-facing camera toward the podium as if recording DA Rubinstein.” Mosher’s account went on to state that after Barrett addressed the alleged recordings, Tina Peters rotated the iPad, giving him a view of the screen. He stated that the iPad OS camera application was running.
Paralegal Haley Gonzalez told investigators that she also observed Tina Peters with what appeared to be an iPad in a white keyboard case. She reported the iPad was open and the rear-facing camera was positioned as if Peters was recording. Gonzalez also stated when Peters rotated the device, she could see the iPad’s camera application was open. She also noted that Clerk Peters then “closed the iPad and put it in her bag.”
At the conclusion of the court hearing, both Gonzalez and DDA Mosher asserted their certainty that Tina Peters was either recording or attempting to record the court proceedings, appeared to try to stop the recording, and conceal the device in her bag. A review of security footage confirmed that before the bench conference, Peters was sitting behind the defense table with a white tablet-like device perched on the courtroom bar, consistent with the reports of both Gonzalez and DDA Mosher.
Based on the accounts of the DA’s Office, investigators secured a warrant for the device and its data saying, “a forensic review of this data is necessary to locate evidence that may have been deleted by the user or stored without the user’s knowledge.”