By Danielle Chavira

MESA COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Mesa County charged the county’s Deputy Clerk, Belinda Knisley, with second degree burglary and cybercrime on Wednesday. The charges come amid an arrest warrant issued for Knisley.

She turned herself in the same day and now avoids jail time. She was given a $2,000 personal recognizance bond, and a judge ordered her to stay away from the clerk’s office and employees.

Belinda Knisley (credit: Mesa County)

The district attorney’s office says the charges are separate from its ongoing investigation surrounding a security breach of Mesa County’s voting equipment. The Secretary of State’s Office is also investigating that matter.

An arrest affidavit states Knisley was on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into her creating a hostile, unprofessional work environment for office employees.

(credit: CBS)

Knisley reportedly ignored the order to stop contacting employees at the office, and despite her access badge being suspended, she was found inside secure areas of the clerk’s office. Officials say they believe she was trying to print something using passwords of County Clerk Tina Peters. No documents were ultimately printed.

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters

Tina Peters (credit: CBS)

Secretary of State Jena Griswold is moving forward with a lawsuit to remove Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters as the Designated Election Official. The move comes after an unauthorized person leaked election equipment passwords from the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

Peters has not returned to her office since Aug. 9, 2021.

Danielle Chavira