Worker reaches plea agreement in case of tampering with election machine

According to court documents, a former election executive who prosecutors said had assisted in a security breach of voting equipment in a Colorado county, reached a plea bargain with prosecutors.

Sandra Brown, who is scheduled to appear in court for a defense hearing Wednesday afternoon, is one of two employees accused of helping Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters allow a copy of the hard drive to be taken while updating election equipment to look for evidence. One of the conspiracy theories put forward by former President Donald Trump.

Brown plans to plead guilty to attempting to influence a public official, felony and official misconduct, misdemeanor, according to a statement of the settlement submitted to the court. The deal, which still needs to be approved by a judge, also requires Brown to sign a “cooperation agreement,” but details of what he must do were not specified.

His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In August, Belinda Knisley, a second employee accused of aiding Peters in the alleged plot in May 2021, pleaded guilty under a settlement that required her to testify against her boss.

Knisley, who served as Peters’ chief aide, pleaded guilty in August to trespassing, misconduct, and misconduct. He was sentenced to two years of unattended probation.

Peters gained national notoriety by promoting conspiracy theories about the voting machines, and earlier this year he lost his bid to run as the Republican nominee for Colorado’s secretary of state overseeing the election. He has been charged three times with attempting to impress a public official, impersonating a criminal, two conspiracy to impersonate a criminal, one count of identity theft, first-degree official misconduct, malfeasance and non-compliance with the secretary of state. .

He denied the allegations, calling them politically motivated and pleaded not guilty.

According to Brown’s arrest statement, Knisley tried to get a security badge for a man Peters said he had hired in his clerk’s office. Peters later said he used this to allow another unauthorized person in the room to make a copy of the election equipment hard drive. Brown was present when the copy was made and conspired to misrepresent the identity of the person wearing the badge.

State election officials became aware of the security breach when photos and video of the secret ballot system passwords were posted on social media and on a conservative website.

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Cassidy reported from Atlanta.

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