Worker pleads guilty in election equipment tampering case

Nov 29, 2022, 10:07 PM | Updated: Dec 2, 2022, 7:06 am
FILE - In this photo released July 13, 2022, by the Mesa County Sheriff's Office is Sandra Brown. T...

FILE - In this photo released July 13, 2022, by the Mesa County Sheriff's Office is Sandra Brown. The former elections manager accused of helping a Colorado clerk charged with tampering with voting equipment plans to plead guilty under an agreement with prosecutors. Brown is scheduled to be in court Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022. (Mesa County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

(Mesa County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

DENVER (AP) — A former elections manager who prosecutors say assisted in a security breach of voting equipment in a Colorado county pleaded guilty on Wednesday under a plea agreement that requires her to testify against her former boss.

Sandra Brown is one of two employees accused of helping Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters allow a copy of a hard drive to be made during an update of election equipment last year in search of proof of the false conspiracy theories spun by former President Donald Trump.

Brown, 45, pleaded guilty to attempting to influence a public servant, a felony, and official misconduct, a misdemeanor, but will not be sentenced until right after she testifies at Peters’ trial next year so her performance on the witness stand can be considered.

“There were things going on that I should have questioned and I didn’t,” Brown told Judge Matthew Barrett.

In August, Peters’ chief deputy, Belinda Knisley, also pleaded guilty under a deal that required her to testify against Peters. She only pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts and was immediately sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation.

Peters gained national prominence by promoting conspiracy theories about voting machines and lost a bid to become the Republican candidate for Colorado’s secretary of state, who oversees elections, earlier this year. She is charged with three counts of attempting to influence a public servant, criminal impersonation, two counts of conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation, one count of identity theft, first-degree official misconduct, violation of duty and failing to comply with the secretary of state.

She has dismissed the allegations, calling them politically motivated, and has pleaded not guilty.

According to Brown’s arrest affidavit, Knisley worked to get a security badge for a man Peters said she was hiring in the clerk’s office. Peters then used it to allow another, unauthorized person inside the room to make a copy of the election equipment hard drive during the May 2021 election equipment update, it said. Brown was present when the copy was made and conspired to misrepresent the identity of the person using the badge, it said.

Brown contacted the secretary of state’s office asking for permission for an administrative assistant to be allowed to attend the update but knew that person was really a computer expert who would not have been allowed to attend, District Attorney Dan Rubinstein told Judge Matthew Barrett during Brown’s plea hearing. The credential for that expert was then used by another person to get in the room and make a copy of the hard drive, he said. That person has not been charged.

“She knew she was setting up a sham,” Rubinstein said of Brown.

State election officials became aware of the security breach when a photo and video of confidential voting system passwords were posted on social media and a conservative website.

Brown’s deal, which Barrett will not decide whether to accept until sentencing, would allow her to serve up to 30 days in jail for the misdemeanor. It would allow the felony conviction to be erased after two years if she complies with conditions he sets, such as requiring community service, for those two years. If Barrett rejects the plea deal, Brown could withdraw her guilty pleas.

___

Cassidy reported from Atlanta.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

People worship during Sunday services at the Mount Olive Cathedral CME Church, as the death of Tyre...
Associated Press

Memphis pastor prays for continued peace after video release

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Members of Mt. Olive Cathedral Church in Memphis gathered for worship on Sunday, two days after Tyre Nichols’ parents spoke from the sanctuary and called for peace following the release of video showing their son’s fatal beating at the hands of police. “We’ve had calm so far, which is what we […]
1 day ago
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, center, is welcomed by U.S. amb...
Associated Press

US urges donors to give far more as Somalia faces famine

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — The first U.S. Cabinet member to visit Somalia since 2015 urged the world’s distracted donors Sunday to give immediate help to a country facing deadly famine, which she calls “the ultimate failure of the international community.” The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, heard perhaps the starkest warning yet […]
1 day ago
Elon Musk departs the Phillip Burton Federal Building and United States Court House in San Francisc...
Associated Press

Elon Musk’s mysterious ways on display in Tesla tweet trial

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Elon Musk’s enigmatic personality and unconventional tactics are emerging as key exhibits in a trial revolving around one of his most polarizing pursuits — tweeting. The trial, centered on a pair of tweets announcing Musk had obtained the money to take Tesla private in 2018, reeled the 51-year-old billionaire into a […]
1 day ago
FILE - House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., pauses during a break in the taping of an interview ...
Associated Press

Biden, McCarthy to discuss debt limit in talks on Wednesday

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Sunday he is looking forward to discussing with President Joe Biden a “reasonable and responsible way that we can lift the debt ceiling ” when the two meet Wednesday for their first sit-down at the White House since McCarthy was elected to the post. McCarthy, R-Calif., said […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Three kids, one adult killed in Iowa crash that also hurt 9

WELLSBURG, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have identified the three children and one adult who died in a rollover crash in northern Iowa that also injured the nine other passengers Friday morning. The Iowa State Patrol said Marlin Borntreger, 1; Rebecca Borntreger, 2; Emma Borntreger, 4; and Ervin J. Borntreger, 22, all died. None of the […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Iowa Democrats pick ex-House candidate as new state leader

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Democrats chose a failed Congressional candidate to lead their state party as they grapple with a series of election losses and an effort from the national party to take away its first-in-the-nation status in the presidential race. Rita Hart, the former state senator who lost a 2020 U.S. House […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Worker pleads guilty in election equipment tampering case