A group of fliers challenged the Biden administration’s mask mandates with six court filings.
The federal court petitions sought an end to mask requirements for travelers.
“Wearing face masks has nothing whatsoever to do with transportation security,” they said.
A coordinated group of anti-mask travelers on Tuesday filed six petitions in federal appellate courts across the country, with each filing arguing that the Biden administration’s mask mandates were unconstitutional.
The petitions were the latest step in a months-long legal campaign led by Lucas Wall, the Washington, D.C., a frequent flier who is suing the Biden administration and seven airlines. Wall filed the petition in the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, but they each use his lawsuit as an exhibit.
The six petitions were filed by a combined 12 people, each of which said their medical conditions made it difficult or impossible to wear a face covering. Some said they suffered from anxiety disorders.
The legal arguments – and much of the individual wording – of each of the six petitions were identical. Each called for an end to the Biden administration’s “illegal and unconstitutional” mask mandates, which were extended for a second time through mid-January 2021.
The petitions argued that mask mandates didn’t fall under the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) legal mandate, which they said was “limited by law to address security threats.” They said Congress hasn’t given the agency “power to regulate the public health and welfare.”
“Wearing face masks has nothing whatsoever to do with transportation security,” the petitioners said.
A TSA spokesperson declined to comment on pending litigation.
The petitions challenged four orders put in place by the TSA, each of which cited President Joe Biden’s January executive order requiring masks for all travelers. The TSA orders – three security directives and one emergency amendment – were re-upped in August, before the TSA’s mask mandate was extended.
“None of these give TSA authority to require passengers to wear masks to possibly prevent the spread of a communicable disease such as COVID-19,” the petitioners said.
Lawmakers say three facilities in California should no longer be used to detain immigrants.
Two of the facilities are run by for-profit prison companies: CoreCivic and The GEO Group.on
Detainees have reported abuse and retaliation at the detention centers.
Two dozen Democrats have signed on to a letter urging the Biden administration to close detention facilities where immigrants have claimed abuse at the hands of guards, including what the lawmakers say has been “retaliation after reporting sexual assault.”
Sent Thursday, the letter asks Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to “take immediate steps” to terminate Immigration and Customs Enforcement contracts for three detention centers in California: the Yuba County Jail, the Otay Mesa Detention Center, and the Adelanto ICE Processing Facility.
“For years, under multiple administrations, these facilities have been operating in a substandard manner,” the letter states, resulting in “the excessive waste of federal funds.”
But the lawmakers – including California’s Sen. Alex Padilla, chair of the Senate subcommittee on immigration, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, his counterpart in the House – are concerned about more than just costs. The letter describes a pattern of abuse. At Otay Mesa, located near the US-Mexico border and run by the for-profit prison company CoreCivic, detainees have complained of overcrowding and filthy conditions. “Detainees have also reported retaliation after reporting sexual assault,” the letter states.
As detailed in a report from a local chapter of the ACLU, the Otay Mesa authorities admitted “there was more than one confirmed assault every month in 2019.” A lawsuit filed by women detained there alleges some detainees were put in isolation after reporting such assaults.
At the Adelanto facility, an hour inland from Los Angeles and run by the for-profit GEO Group, personnel have also been accused of using pepper spray “on detainees who were peacefully protesting COVID-19-related lockdown conditions” that had been deemed by one federal court “inconsistent with contemporary standards of human decency.”
Neither CoreCivic nor The GEO Group immediately responded to requests for comment.
A 23-year-old Air Force veteran pleaded guilty to two counts of impersonating an officer Tuesday.
Marlon Priest impersonated an FBI agent, as well as a Moody Air Force Base Office of Special investigations agent.
The Georgia man made a traffic stop, offered to solve a crime, and even showed up at crime scenes.
A 23-year-old US Air Force veteran pled guilty Tuesday to impersonating a federal agent after admitting he’d made a traffic stop, offered to solve a crime, and even showed up armed to crime scenes, court documents show.
Marlon De’Adrain Priest from Valdosta, Ga. is guilty of two counts of impersonating an officer and an employee of the United States and is facing up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count.
A judge will sentence Priest in January.
In April last year, Priest, who had been discharged from the Air Force a little over a year earlier for misuse of a military credit card, made a traffic stop, identifying himself as an undercover federal agent at Moody Air Force Base.
Priest was armed with a Glock pistol, wearing a bullet-proof vest, and driving a vehicle with police lights and a public announcement (PA) system, according to Evan Seago, the individual who Priest pulled over. Priest called the stop into 911, identifying himself as an undercover agent.
In August, he pretended to be a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, though that would not be the last time, his plea agreement, obtained by Insider, states.
In September 2020, the Moody Air Force Base Office of Special Investigations contacted the FBI to let them know about Priest, who had been impersonating an OSI agent. The Remerton Police Department had tipped off the base after seeing Priest at crime scenes on a number of occasions.
One time, Priest, who was driving a white Chevrolet sedan with police lights, showed up at a crime scene of a shooting incident in a bullet-proof vest with an AR-15 rifle, court documents show.
When Remerton Police Department Investigator Carl Dudley met Priest at the scene, he was grateful to have what he thought was another law enforcement officer at what could have been a dangerous crime scene.
Over time, Dudley became suspicious of Priest and decided to check in with the Moody Air Force Base Office of Special Investigations, which reported that Priest was not one of their agents.
In October of last year, Priest told a fraud victim he was an FBI agent and charged her $85 to take her case. Days later, he accused the victim of making false statements, threatened to press charges, and demanded another $150, which the victim paid.
Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, said in a statement that “impersonating a federal officer for any reason puts the public and law enforcement officers at risk, especially when a firearm is used,” adding that “the FBI is committed to keeping the public safe from scam artists like Priest, who undermine legitimate police encounters that happen every day.”
Acting US Attorney Peter Leary said “Priest created a false appearance of authority and power to scam and intimidate his victims,” stressing that “impersonating a federal agent is a serious crime that will not be tolerated.”
A proposed bill would allow 14 and 15 year olds in Wisconsin to work as late as 11 p.m..
Supporters say it could help plug the state’s labor shortage.
Federal child-labor laws say under-16s must stop work at 9 p.m. or 7 p.m., depending on the time of year.
Wisconsin’s Senate approved a bill on Wednesday that would allow 14 and 15-year-olds to work until 11 p.m. on some days – much later than current laws allow.
Supporters of the bill say it could help plug the state’s labor shortage.
Wisconsin currently sticks to federal child-labor laws, which stipulate that people under the age of 16 can only work between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. from June 1 to Labor Day, and between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. for the rest of the year.
The proposed bill would allow this group to instead work from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on days before a school day, and 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. when the next day isn’t a school day.
It has now been sent to the Wisconsin Assembly for approval.
The bill would keep in place federal rules limiting teens to three hours of work on a school day, eight hours on non-school days, and six days of work a week.
It wouldn’t cover businesses that have annual revenues of more than $500,000 or workers involved in interstate commerce, who are instead covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
In testimony to the state’s Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform in June, Sen. Mary Felzkowski and Rep. Amy Loudenbeck said that the bill would help small businesses during the busy summer months.
“Businesses throughout the state see a massive increase in traffic during the summer tourist season, so much so that it can be difficult to find employees to work odd hours and seasonal times,” they said. As a result, businesses often hire young people, they said.
Felzkowski and Loudenbeck said that the current legislation meant some businesses choose to close early because their young staff can’t work late at night.
Hotel and tourism industry lobbyists are in favor of the bill, but it’s opposed by the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, a federation of unions.
The Wisconsin Restaurant Association said in June that it supported extending workers hours for teens to help solve staffing issues. CEO Kristine Hillmer said that restaurants across the state had been boosting wages because of their struggle to find staff, noting that some entry-level dishwashers were starting at $15 an hour or higher.
But the fact the bill wouldn’t cover companies with large turnovers, or workers who take credit-card payments, was a potential problem that made the bill “very complex from a compliance standpoint,” Hillmer said.
Rep. Katie Porter blasted Johnson & Johnson for trying to separate its company.
She said that the company is trying to “shield its assets” during lawsuits.
The lawsuits allege that the company knew their baby powder had asbestos in it for decades.
Rep. Katie Porter called out Johnson & Johnson on Twitter for moving to separate the Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder portions from the company as it faces lawsuits from tens of thousands of women alleging the Baby Powder and other talc products from the company were contaminated with asbestos.
“Johnson & Johnson filed in court last week to split its Baby Powder from the rest of the company,” the congresswoman tweeted. “Why? J&J knew asbestos laced some bottles but kept it a secret for decades. Tens of thousands of women with ovarian cancer are suing, and the company wants to shield its assets.”
“J&J sold the powder for 60 years, and now that it has to pay for these women’s medical bills, it wants the courts to treat ‘Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder’ as a separate company,” California congresswoman continued.
A 2018 investigation by Reuters reported that small amounts of asbestos were found in the company’s baby powder between the early 1970s and the early 2000s. The investigation found through documents that the company failed to disclose that information.
The company has repeatedly denied the claims.
Reuters reported last week that cases against Johnson & Johnson cost to company about $1 billion to defend, and settlements and verdicts have been an additional $3.5 billion.
In June, J&J had to pay out $2 billion to women who claim their products caused ovarian cancer.
In one suit, the plaintiffs allege “Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder was aggressively marketed to Black women as a product that would ‘maintain freshness and cleanliness,'” Insider’s Aleeya Mayo previously reported. “But, the group says, internal documents from a study conducted in 1968 suggest that the powder contained talc which may have been contaminated with asbestos and that the company knew there was a ‘carcinogenic nature of talc and the effects of talc use.'”
The company put these claims into a company called LTL Management LLC, which filed for bankruptcy last Thursday, October 14, halting the cases, according to Reuters. The lawsuits are currently paused while the bankruptcy is negotiated. J&J said will fund the company’s legal costs, but the amount is under review, Reuters reported.
Court paperwork by the newly filed company said that the case was “necessitated by an unrelenting assault by the plaintiff trial bar, premised on the false allegations that the … talc products contain asbestos and cause cancer,” according to Reuters.
“There are countless Americans suffering from cancer, or mourning the death of a loved one, because of the toxic baby powder that Johnson & Johnson put on the market that has made it one of the most profitable pharmaceutical corporations in the world. Their conduct and now bankruptcy gimmick is as despicable as it is brazen,” Linda Lipsen, who is a part of the American Association for Justice, said in a statement, according to ABC News.
The company did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Steve Bannon is refusing to comply with the investigation into the January 6 insurrection.
A day before the riot, he predicted that “all hell will break loose.”
Donald Trump sued to prevent documents from his White House being shared with the committee.
Republican leadership is instructing GOP members of Congress to vote against a resolution holding Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress over his refusal to testify before the special committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.
On Tuesday night, the special committee held a unanimous, bipartisan vote to recommend that Bannon be punished for failing to comply with its subpoena. The full House of Representatives is expected to vote Thursday, though it is ultimately up to the Department of Justice whether or not prosecute Bannon.
Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, said his refusal – and claim to be covered by “executive privilege” – indicated that he had helped plan the insurrection with former President Donald Trump. The ex-president has himself sued to prevent documents from his White House being shared with the committee.
In a memo sent to each House Republican, however, House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana claimed the special committee’s investigation was invalid, arguing it lacked a legislative purpose.
“Congress does not have enumerated constitutional powers to conduct investigations or issue subpoenas outside of that scope,” he asserted.
Legal experts, however, say Congress has broad authority to investigate under the US Constitution, particularly when it comes to the actions of past and present government officials. Bannon – who predicted a day before the insurrection that “all hell is going to break loose” – previously served as chief strategist at the White House under Trump.
The January 6 special committee is also considering whether new laws may be needed to prevent future attempts to subvert US elections.
Scalise himself voted on January 6 to block President Joe Biden’s victory, challenging the certification of votes from Pennsylvania, despite state and federal court rulings upholding the legitimacy of results there. He has since refused to concede that Trump was defeated in a legitimate election.
As law firms and their clients seek to digitize and streamline work, VCs have been opening their wallets to the growing legal-tech space. The total value of deals in the global legal-tech market through the end of the third quarter clocks in at $1.47 billion – far surpassing the $607 million figure from all of 2020, according to data from PitchBook.
Private equity firms are also increasingly eyeing legal tech, investing more than $3.6 billion in Q1 of 2021 alone, according to market intelligence platform Bodhala.
Here’s a look at our legal-tech pitch deck collection.
Malbek, which helps companies’ legal, sales, and finance teams manage and analyze their contracts, announced in September that it raised $15.3 million for its Series A.
A startup looking to streamline how companies handle contracts nabbed an investment from one of the world’s most high-profile investors in a nod to the rising interest in legal tech.
ContractPodAi, which helps in-house legal teams automate and manage their contracts, raised a $115 million Series C in late September led by SoftBank. The round quintupled ContractPodAi’s valuation since its last funding round in 2019, though the company declined to disclose specific valuation numbers.
The investment came from SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2. Its predecessor, the original $100 billion megafund Vision Fund, has invested in dozens of household names including WeWork, Uber, and DoorDash. While some of the fund’s bets were wildly successful, others fell short of expectations.
ContractPodAi is the first legal-tech investment by either of SoftBank’s Vision Funds.
Jus Mundi, an AI-powered legal search engine for international law and arbitration, snapped up $10 million for its Series A in September 2021.
In 2019, Jean-Rémi de Maistre, a former lawyer at the International Court of Justice, co-launched the company after realizing how hard it was to conduct research for cross-border legal cases.
Paris-based Jus Mundi raised a €1 million ($1.17 USD) seed round in March 2020, spurring a fivefold growth in annual recurring revenue over the span of 2020, according to the company. Its most recent $10 million Series A was led by C4 Ventures, a European VC firm founded by Pascal Cagni, a former head of Apple Europe. The VC firm has also invested in hot-ticket companies like Foursquare, Nest, and Via.
LawVu, an end-to-end software platform for in-house legal teams, snapped up a $17 million Series A in August.
Founded in 2015, the New Zealand-based startup enables companies’ in-house lawyers to manage contracts, documents, billing, and more on one platform.
The funding round was led by the private-equity firm Insight Partners, which has invested in other legal-tech companies like DocuSign, Kira Systems, and ContractPodAI, as well as big-ticket businesses like Twitter, Shopify, and Hello Fresh. AirTree Ventures, an Australia-based venture-capital firm, co-led the Series A.
Athennian, which helps law firms and legal departments manage data and workflow around legal entities, raised a $7 million CAD (more than $5.5 million USD) Series A extension in the beginning of March, nearly doubling its initial $8 million Series A round last year.
Athennian’s revenue and headcount more than doubled since the original Series A, according to founder and CEO Adrian Camara. He declined to disclose revenue numbers, but said that the sales and marketing team grew from 35 people in September to around 70 in March.
Launched in 2017, Athennian is used by nearly 200 legal departments and law firms, including Dentons, Fastkind, and Paul Hastings, to automate documents like board minutes, stock certificates, and shareholder consents.
The Series A extension was led by Arthur Ventures. New investors Touchdown Ventures and Clio’s CEO, Jack Newton, also participated in the round, alongside Round13 Capital and other existing investors. To date, Athennian has raised $17 million CAD, or around $14 million USD, in venture capital funding, per Pitchbook.
Contract tech is the frontrunner in the legal tech space, as companies across industries seek to streamline their contract creation, negotiation, and management processes.
Evisort, a contract lifecycle management (CLM) platform, raised $35 million in its Series B announced late February, bringing total funding to $55.5 million. The private equity firm General Atlantic led its latest funding round, with participation from existing investors Amity Ventures, Microsoft’s venture firm M12, and Vertex Ventures.
Founded in 2016, Evisort uses artificial intelligence to help businesses categorize, search, and act on documents.
Its CEO Jerry Ting founded Evisort while he was still attending Harvard Law School. He spent one summer working at Fried Frank, but soon realized that he didn’t want to be a lawyer because he didn’t want to spend excruciating hours manually reading fifty-page contracts. He did, however, recognize how important they are to corporations, and co-founded Evisort as a tool to locate and track valuable information like a contract’s expiration date and obligations like payment dates.
Try to imagine the contracts negotiation process, and one might conjure up a scene where a sheaf of papers, tucked discreetly into a manila folder, is shuttled from one law office to the mahogany table of another. With a stroke of a fountain pen, the deal is sealed.
Those old-school methods have long been replaced with the adoption of PDFs, redlined versions of which zip from email inbox to inbox. Now, contracting is undergoing another digital shift that will streamline the process as companies are becoming more comfortable with tech and are seeking greater efficiencies – and investors are taking note.
Contractbook, a Denmark-based contract lifecycle management platform, late last year raised $9.4 million in its Series A investment round, led by venture capital titan Bessemer Venture Partners. In November 2019, Gradient Ventures, Google’s AI-focused venture fund, led Contractbook’s $3.9 million seed round.
Founded in Copenhagen in 2017, Contractbook uses data to automate documents, offering an end-to-end contracts platform for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Niels Brøchner, the company’s CEO and co-founder, said that Contractbook was born out of the notion that existing contract solutions failed to use a document’s data – from names of parties to the folder the document is stored in – to automate the process and drive workflow.
Cloud-based technology is having its moment, especially in the legal industry.
As attorneys have been propelled to work remotely amid the pandemic, data security and streamlined work processes are top-of-mind for law firms, leading them to adopt cloud technology.
Investors are taking note. Disco, a cloud-based ediscovery platform that uses artificial intelligence to streamline the litigation process, snapped up $60 million in equity financing in October.
Its Series F, led by Georgian Partners and also backed by VC titans like Bessemer Venture Partners and LiveOak Venture Partners, brings total investment to $195 million, valuing the company at $785 million.
Launched in Houston in 2012, Disco offers AI-fueled products geared towards helping lawyers review and analyze vast quantities of documents, allowing them to more efficiently determine which ones are relevant to a case.
BlackBoiler is an automated contract markup software that’s used by Am Law 25 firms and several Fortune 1000 companies.
The software uses machine learning to automate the process of reviewing and revising documents in “track changes.” This saves attorneys the time they would typically spend marking up contracts that often use standard boilerplate language.
As a pre-execution software used in the negotiation and markup stage of the contracts process, BlackBoiler has carved out a unique space in the $35 billion contracts industry, said Dan Broderick, a lawyer who co-founded the company in 2015 and is now its CEO.
Broderick walked Insider through the pitch deck the company used to attract funding from investors, including DocuSign as well as 10 attorneys that run the gamut from Am Law 50 partners to general counsel at large corporations.
A man in New York sued Canon, saying the firm’s All-in-One printers won’t scan without printer ink.
David Leacraft filed a class-action complaint in federal court on Tuesday.
Canon’s “claims are false, misleading, and reasonably likely to deceive the public,” he said.
A Queens man filed a class-action lawsuit against Canon, saying some of the electronics giant’s All-in-One printers won’t scan documents unless they have ink cartridges installed.
“In truth, the All-in-One Printers do not scan or fax documents when the devices have low or empty ink cartridges,” said David Leacraft, the plaintiff, in a complaint filed Tuesday in US District Court in the Eastern District of New York.
“Canon’s advertising claims are false, misleading, and reasonably likely to deceive the public,” Leacraft added.
He purchased a “so-called all-in-one device,” a Canon PIXMA MG2522, from Walmart in March 2021, he said in his complaint, which was first reported by Actionable Intelligence, a research firm.
“Plaintiff Leacraft would not have purchased the device or would not have paid as much for it had he known that he would have to maintain ink in the device in order to scan documents,” the complaint said.
Canon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The lawsuit said it expected the full list of plaintiffs to be more than 100 consumers. They’d seek more than $5 million in total damages and costs, it said.
Leacraft’s complaint collected similar gripes against the company from online forums, including Canon’s community forum. Since at least 2015, customers have been posting about not being able to use their scanners when their ink is low, the complaint said.
In one response, a Canon representative said “there is no workaround for this,” according to the complaint.
The lawsuit accused Canon of breach of express warranty, unjust enrichment, and several New York laws. Leacraft is represented by Mark S. Reich and Courtney E. Maccarone, attorneys with Levi & Korsinsky LLP.
Facebook is appealing a request for internal records linked to a Myanmar genocide case, filings show.
It’s the latest development in a legal battle regarding Facebook’s role in genocidal violence.
The company said sharing users’ private content would create “grave human rights concerns of its own.”
Facebook on Wednesday challenged part of a judge’s order that would require the tech giant to release internal documents and private user content connected to the genocide of 24,000 Rohingya people in Myanmar.
The company is appealing US Magistrate Zia Faruqi’s September mandate that said Facebook must disclose records from the company’s private investigation into its role in the systematic mass executions of Rohingya civilians by the Myanmar military.
Faruqi’s order also asked Facebook to release content posted by accounts affiliated or suspected of being affiliated with Myanmar officials.
“Locking away the requested content would be throwing away the opportunity to understand how disinformation begat genocide of the Rohingya,” Faruqi wrote in the ruling.
The tech giant argued that disclosing internet users’ private content would violate federal law under the Stored Communications Act, adding that fulfilling such a request would create “grave human rights concerns of its own.”
The appeal specified that Facebook would comply with requests to “produce relevant public information and non-content metadata.”
In a statement to Insider, Rafael Frankel, Facebook’s Director of South and Southeast Asia Policy, said: “We support international efforts to bring accountability for atrocity crimes committed against the Rohingya people. We’ve made voluntary, lawful disclosures to the UN’s Investigative Mechanism for more than a year and we commit to disclosing information to The Gambia to complement that effort. We also support modernizing the SCA and reforms that allow a broader range of disclosures for significant investigations like this, while avoiding a precedent that risks the privacy and human rights of billions of people.”
Facebook’s filing is the latest development in an international legal battle alleging Myanmar officials of genocide against the Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority.
Beginning in 2016, the military carried out “clearance operations” of the ethnic group that included the rape, torture, and mass executions of tens of thousands of men, women, and children, court documents say.
Digital hate campaigns against the Rohingya on Facebook led to “communal violence and mob justice,” The Republic of the Gambia claims in the international court filings, as organized groups used “multiple fake accounts and news pages to spread hate speech, fake news, and misinformation for political gain.”
Facebook itself admitted that it was “too slow to respond to the concerns raised” regarding the violence, and said it will cooperate with Faruqi’s directive to provide public information on “hundreds of accounts, groups, and pages removed from its platform.”
Facebook called the order “sweeping and unprecedented,” and said it would leave “internet users’ private content unprotected and thereby susceptible to disclosure – at a provider’s whim – to private litigants, foreign governments, law enforcement, or anyone else.”
“Facebook’s consistent understaffing of the counterespionage, information operations, and counterterrorism teams is a national security issue,” Haugen said in a testimony to lawmakers earlier this month. “I have strong national security concerns about how Facebook operates today.”
Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters spent weeks in hiding after attending Mike Lindell’s conference.
She is under investigation for allegedly allowing an outsider to access her county’s voting equipment.
Elections will now be overseen by former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican.
A judge in Colorado on Wednesday issued an injunction that strips election authority from a local Republican official who allowed an unauthorized “consultant” to access voting machines – and then claimed to have found evidence of fraud at a conspiracy theory conference hosted by MyPillow founder Mike Lindell.
Tina Peters, an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump, was elected to serve as Mesa County Clerk in 2018. The year following, her office admitted that it failed to count more than 500 ballots in a local election, leading Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, to require Peters’ office to undergo remedial training.
Following the 2020 election, Peters joined the former president’s campaign to discredit his loss, despite President Joe Biden winning Colorado by a 13.5% margin. At Lindell’s conference this summer, she claimed to present evidence that showed equipment from Dominion Voting Systems could be hacked to flip votes, despite the fact that equipment was never connected to the internet.
It’s what happened before attending that conference, however, that has led to Peters losing her authority to oversee elections in a case brought by the office of Colorado’s Secretary of State. As detailed in the ruling from Mesa County District Court Judge Valerie J. Robison, Peters last March allowed an unauthorized consultant to access the county’s voting machines, with one of her aides requesting that election department cameras be turned off for two weeks – long enough to allow that unauthorized third party to make a “forensic image” of the hard drive used by Dominion vote-tabulating equipment.
That aide now faces criminal charges.
Later, video of election staff and employees of Dominion Voting Systems performing a software update in Peters’ office was leaked on social media, and with it the confidential passwords used to access voting machines. Mesa County’s Republican-led Board of Commissioners elected, in August, to replace that equipment, which had been decertified following the unauthorized access.
In her ruling, Robison said Peters and her aide had “neglected their duties by failing to take adequate precautions to protect confidential information, and committed wrongful acts by being untruthful.” The decision comes after Peters spent weeks hiding in an undisclosed location provided by Lindell. She is currently under state and federal investigation.
Mesa County’s next election will be overseen by former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican appointed by Griswold’s office.
In a statement, Griswold praised Wednesday’s decision, saying it would prevent peters from “further threatening the integrity of Mesa’s elections.”