Judge throws out arrest warrant for accused Mesa County employee Tina Peters

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A Mesa County District Court judge on Friday vacated an arrest warrant and a motion to untie accused employee Tina Peters, but stressed that any unauthorized travel in the future would violate her bond terms.

Judge Matthew Barrett on Thursday revoked Peters’ bail and issued an arrest warrant for her after she traveled to Las Vegas without court approval, but he reversed that decision after a Friday afternoon hearing with Peters and her lead attorney.

District Attorney Dan Rubinstein did not object to the overturn request.

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Barrett said he was giving Peters a second chance after her attorney, Harvey Steinberg, accepted full responsibility for Peters not knowing of a court order barring her from traveling. Peters was in Las Vegas on July 12, speaking at a conservative law enforcement event.

“It is standard court practice in such circumstances,” Barrett said, explaining his decision. “It will not happen again. Ms. Peters, if you leave a minute before the time you tell me you will be leaving, that is a breach of your obligation.”

Steinberg explained to Barrett during the hearing that he didn’t see his injunction against Peter’s trip until she was already in Las Vegas, claiming he was “computer illiterate” and didn’t use the court’s data sharing system, and that his staff didn’t usually handle it were out of the office. Peters, who faces a grand jury indictment on charges of breaching election security at her office, is subject to detention conditions that require court approval before she leaves the country.

While Barrett’s order against her trip came on the morning of July 11, Peters was on a plane that same evening. Peters then spent the next day in Las Vegas. Steinberg said he became aware of the order on July 13 and Peters then came home “immediately”.

There was also confusion about Peter’s travel announcement. While she emailed her lawyers that she would be traveling on July 12, she actually left the day before. Therefore, she did not properly announce her trip.

Barrett expressed disbelief that Peters’ legal team had failed to notify his client of an important court order, but Steinberg took the blame and it worked in the defense team’s favour.

“This is where the buck ends. I’m the lead counsel and I take responsibility,” Steinberg said.

Barrett said that Peters, who lost a Republican primary for secretary of state on June 28, is no longer a candidate and has a less compelling reason to travel, she must file an application with the court and have it approved before leaving the state instead easy to cancel. These requests have a five-day waiting period before prosecutors respond and the judge makes a decision.

He said Peters was a flight companion who had funds to get away using private planes. She also has wealthy allies like Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow.

Peters is scheduled to appear in court on August 5 for the security breach. She faces both felony and misdemeanor charges, including allegations of attempted manipulation of an officer and criminal identity theft.

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