To avoid being arrested and put in jail, Mesa County Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley turned herself in to Mesa County District Court today and was advised on charges of felony burglary and misdemeanor cyber crimes filed against her in relation to a personnel matter and ongoing investigations of her office.
As a result, Knisley, 66, was ordered not to enter the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder's Office while state and federal criminal investigations are ongoing into possible felony charges for breaching election security, according to her arrest warrant.
The charges are separate from two criminal investigations against her and Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters by the district attorney's office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to her arrest affidavit, Knisley had been placed on paid administrative leave and told not to have contact with anyone in the office. She was placed on paid leave pending an investigation into her creating a hostile work environment for office employees.
"(District Attorney Dan Rubinstein) has been in contact with defense counsel for Ms. Knisley and has expressed his concern that Ms. Knisley continues to have contact with employees of the Clerk and Recorder's Office in a manner that is intimidating to them, despite the pending investigation and her leave," the affidavit says.
The arrest warrant was issued after County Administrator Pete Baier informed Knisley that she was being placed on administrative leave pending investigations into "numerous" workplace harassment complaints, an order Knisley ignored, the affidavit and other court documents show.
Her access badge had been suspended along with her computer passwords. Still, Knisley was discovered inside secure areas of the office by Baier and the head of the county's Human Resources Department, who also observed that Knisley was trying to print something using Peters' computer passwords.
Her laptop computer was later confiscated.
For more details, see Thursday's edition of The Daily Sentinel.