DENVER — A Mesa County District Court judge quashed the warrant for Tina Peters' arrest Friday but harshly admonished her and her attorney, Harvey Steinberg, for violating her bond conditions and traveling to Las Vegas without permission and on a day she had not even asked to travel in the first place.
Judge Matthew David Barrett also said that Peters would not be able to travel nearly as freely, calling her a flight risk, as she had been as a candidate for Secretary of State following this week's episode. He said her attorneys would have to motion for any future travel out of state and that he would rule in a typical manner — which is usually within five days in order to give prosecutors time to respond.
Steinberg repeatedly took the blame for not seeing the judge's 11:41 a.m. order on July 11 that said Peters could not travel out of state. He said initially that she took a private plane from Grand Junction to Las Vegas around 7:40 p.m. on July 12. But as it turns out, Peters actually left at that time on July 11 — though she had never even asked to travel on that date in the first place.
Steinberg explained that Peters was originally supposed to leave for the right-wing sheriffs convention in Las Vegas on the morning of the 12th, but the private plane that she used to fly was only available on the evening of the 11th, so she took it despite not having a court order allowing her to do so.
Steinberg also blamed not seeing the July 11 order on not being computer literate and said he did not become aware of it until July 13. But Judge Barrett said that court records showed another of Peters' attorneys, Randy Corporon, indeed saw the order at 1:19 p.m. on July 11, more than six hours before Peters got on the plane. Steinberg said Corporon never told him or the other counsel in the case about seeing the order, nor did he tell Peters.
Corporon and the other lawyer did not appear in court on Friday. Judge Barrett called it "remarkable" that such a situation apparently occurred regarding the communication of the order.
Steinberg repeatedly talked about Peters' so-called "paranoia," saying that she thinks the system is being unfair and looking for an excuse to put her back in jail.
But Barrett was stern, saying he expects his orders to be followed, and again saying it was "unfathomable" to him that given her alleged paranoia, her team of three high-profile attorneys, and everything at stake following her felony indictment, that she could leave the state without a court's order.
District Attorney Dan Rubinstein told the judge he believes Peters is now even more of a flight risk now that she has lost her primary election. He also said she has "repeatedly" confessed to criminal conduct in her speeches and that "the chance of conviction has gone way up."
Barrett flatly told Peters she had violated the conditions of her bond and continued to admonish her lawyers, to which Steinberg took exception.
"How not one, but three lawyers, could all neglect to send this important order to their client is incredible," Barrett told Steinberg.
But in the end, he decided to quash the warrant, saying he typically gives most defendants who are accused of bond violations second chances, even if they show little semblance to Peters, who has access to private planes, money, and who last year spent weeks in an undisclosed location while the election breach in Mesa County was being investigated.
"It will not happen again. It will not happen again," Barrett said. "You leave one minute before the time you're telling me you're going to leave, that is a violation of your bond."
Rubinstein added that he believes Peters might be setting up to help Sandra Brown's defense in her recent arrest, and asked the judge to not allow them to have contact, which Barrett partially granted.
Barrett revoked Peters’ bond and issued a warrant for her arrest on Thursday morning after Rubinstein filed a motion Wednesday to revoke Peters’ bond, citing a speech she made at a right-wing sheriffs convention in Las Vegas and a recount request she submitted this week to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, which was notarized in Clark County, Nevada.
Peters had been out on a $25,000 cash or surety bond following her indictment in March on 11 counts tied to a security breach of Mesa County elections system. Part of the bond conditions required her to receive court approval in order to leave Colorado.
Peters’ counsel had filed a travel notice on July 8 but never asked for her to be allowed to travel on July 12 or 13. On July 11, Rubinstein filed an objection to the notice of travel saying that since Peters lost her primary election and is no longer a candidate for office, she should be treated “like all other criminal defendants on bond” and file a motion asking her bond terms be modified.
“Any response to the attached motion is due on or before July 15, 2022. No travel is authorized until the attached objection is resolved,” District Court Judge Matthew David Barrett wrote in the July 11 order just before noon that day.
Peters was still at the Mesa County jail with her former elections manager Sandra Brown, who was arrested earlier this week in relation to Peters’ and Belinda Knisley's cases, until 5 p.m. on July 11, after the court had already said she could not travel out of state.
On Thursday afternoon, Peters’ attorney, Harvey Weinstein, filed a motion to quash the arrest warrant and asked for a hearing. He argued he had not seen the judge’s July 11 order by the time Peters had left the state and admitted he did not properly provide the court with a notice of her travel.
“On July 12, 2022, Ms. Peters simply did not know that she was prohibited from traveling to Las Vegas, and her conduct proves it,” Steinberg argued Thursday. “She publicly appeared with law enforcement officers in Las Vegas, and she livestreamed her appearance for everyone to see. If she knew that the Court prohibited her travel, she would not have publicized that she was in Las Vegas.”
The Constitutional Sheriff's and Peace Officer's Association, according to its website, believes "the vertical separation of powers in the Constitution makes it clear that the power of the sheriff even supersedes the powers of the President [of the United States]."
This particular conference that Peters spoke at this week was moved up from September to July, according to the organization “due to the urgent nature of the election fraud across America and our nationwide call for election fraud investigations by sheriffs and law enforcement.”
Earlier this week, Peters’ former elections manager, Sandra Brown, was arrested for investigation of two felony charges tied to the election systems tampering and hard drive imaging. The affidavit for her arrest also contained new details about those who were involved in the alleged conspiracy to tamper with the machines.
Peters has until 5 p.m. Friday to submit the $236,279.37 to the Secretary of State’s Office that is estimated as the cost of a potential recount in her Republican Secretary of State primary. If she does not, the request for a recount will be denied and there will be no recount.
Peters lost in her Republican Secretary of State primary by 14 percentage points and 88,000 votes to Pam Anderson, and narrowly beat out Mike O’Donnell by about 0.8% and fewer than 5,000 votes for second place in the race.