A Colorado county employee under investigation by the FBI for allegedly leaking voting machine passwords to a well known conspiracy theorist is reportedly hiding out in a safe house owned by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.
Mesa County clerk Tina Peters is the subject of an FBI probe into whether or not she allowed unauthorised access to the county's voting equipment. Colorado's Secretary of State Jena Griswold has called on her to comply with inspections of voting equipment and explain video footage showing her accessing the machines with an unauthorised person. That unauthorised person, believed to be a man named Gerald Wood, allegedly took video of the machine upgrades. The footage contained sensitive data that could be used to breach the county's election equipment. Prior to Mr Wood allegedly entering, Ms Peters reportedly told her staff to turn off the room's surveillance cameras.
Ms Griswold announced the investigation last week, as Ms Peters was flying to South Dakota to participate in Mr Lindell's "cyber-symposium," where he promised to reveal information proving the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump.
Ms Peters – an outspoken Trump supporter and election conspiracy theorist – was invited to be a speaker at the three-day event. The Mesa County clerk responded to Ms Griswold's statement during the show, accusing the Colorado secretary of state of “invading” and having “raided” her office. She continued grandstanding, saying Mesa County was the “last bastion of freedom” and suggesting that the state wanted to “take over my office and control the way you vote.”
“I don't know what [the secretary of state's investigators] did, but I can tell you I don't trust them,” she said.
Later in the event, computer files from Mesa County voting machine hardware was displayed on a giant screen over the main stage. Ron Watkins – the owner of the 8chan image board who is believed by some to be “Q” of the QAnon conspiracy movement – also appeared on the screen. Mr Watkins appeared set to provide analysis of the data, but was interrupted by his lawyer. The lawyer advised him to say that the files had been taken “without authorisation” from Ms Peters’ office, that the data should be returned to the clerk, and that “we should stop this data review.”
Ms Peters took to the stage and denied that anything came from her office, “unless it happened during the raid.” Mr Watkins said during the confusion that Ms Peters had previously told him that she had collected the data, before changing his story and claiming that the information got to him via a former campaign manager for Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert.
After the event, Ms Peters allegedly went into hiding at the behest of Mr Lindell.
The MyPillow CEO told VICE News on Wednesday that she was “worried about her safety” because “these people are ruthless.”
According to Mr Lindell, Ms Peters was initially taken to Texas after the symposium, where she was meant to shelter in secret. However, a disgruntled member of Mr Lindell's security team apparently leaked her location, prompting the pillow boss to move her again. Her whereabouts are currently unknown.
Ms Peters has been banned from from accessing Mesa County elections equipment pending the investigation.
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