As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, a new arrest followed by felony charges filed against a third Mesa County Clerk’s office employee in the case of Clerk Tina Peters’ alleged breach of election system security, and other assorted felony and misdemeanor misconduct in a misguided attempt to prove the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump:
Former Elections Manager Sandra Brown turned herself in to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office late Monday after an arrest affidavit was issued against her on felony charges of conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation and attempting to influence a public servant.
Those charges are similar to those included in a 13-count grand jury indictment against Peters and her chief deputy, Belinda Knisley.
In an affidavit in support of Brown’s arrest first obtained by The Daily Sentinel, a longtime investigator with the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office, James Cannon, wrote that Brown was involved from the beginning in an alleged scheme to make copies of election software during a routine “trusted build” in May 2021, and allegedly using someone else’s identity to do so…
The identity in question is that of a Garfield County resident (“Fruita man!”) named Gerald Wood, whose name wrongly became attached to Peters’ shenanigans (including by us, we regret) after his security credentials which had been returned to Peters after she supposedly decided against hiring Wood were used by an unauthorized individual to access and make copies of election system software. The individual who allegedly used Wood’s identity to access Mesa County’s election systems is a former surfer-turned election conspiracy theorist named Conan Hayes:
Though previous court documents hinted at his identity, the affidavit names that person, California resident Conan James Hayes. So far, no charges have been filed against him or others cited in the affidavit, such as Garfield County resident Sherronna Bishop, but it indicates investigations are ongoing.
“Brown conspired to misrepresent the role and identity of the person — Conan Hayes — who they intended to use, and did use, to copy the hard drive by using the identity of Gerald Wood,” Cannon wrote in the affidavit.
The charges filed against Sandra Brown Monday didn’t come from the Mesa County grand jury convened to investigate Clerk Peters. DA Dan Rubinstein filed the charges directly–and according to this story, had suggested a personal recognizance bond for Brown in recognition of her “cooperation.” That and one other line in this story could prove the most problematic for Clerk Peters in the long run:
The affidavit also indicates that Knisley now is cooperating with investigators, telling them that Peters had instructed her to lie to county human resources officials about Wood. [Pols emphasis]
By now it should be evident to even the most indefatigable of Peters’ supporters that neither revolution nor revelation are coming to vindicate Peters from her criminal charges, that Trump will not be magically restored to office like Mike Lindell promised to pardon Peters, and that what she did was actually really bad no matter how you feel about the 2020 election. The only breach of election system security that occurred here was Peters’ actions, which not only failed to prove any of the baseless conspiracy theories about Dominion Voting Systems but exposed those systems to potential future attacks. And after Colorado GOP primary voters split their MAGA majority and ended Peters’ aspirations to serve as Secretary of State from the jailhouse, there’s no reason left for the rats to stay aboard the proverbial ship.
Until Lara Logan’s movie hits, that is! Peters gets at least one more red carpet tour to remember fondly in the big house.