SALT LAKE CITY — A 3rd District judge acted within her power when she increased bail for Greg Peterson, prosecutors argued in a new court filing.

Following a two-day preliminary hearing in August, Judge Judith Atherton ordered the 37-year-old former GOP activist to stand trial on 25 charges, including 23 felonies. Peterson is accused of kidnapping, raping or assaulting women he met online or at church functions.

In making her decision, Atherton also raised Peterson's bail from $750,000 to $2 million. Peterson's attorneys argued that action violated state law, saying Atherton sua sponte (on her own) raised the issue of modifying the initial bail instead of acting on a motion from the state.

"The statute clearly gives the court ... discretion in amending bail amounts," the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office wrote in its response filed this week. The district attorney said judges take such actions regularly.

The state also notified Peterson's defense team that if the bail is reduced to the original $750,000, then prosecutors will push for a bail hearing to potentially raise bail back to $2 million.

A hearing on the motion is scheduled for Nov. 2.

Also on Tuesday, the preliminary hearing for Peterson's Wasatch County case, originally scheduled for Oct. 10, was moved to Nov. 28. Peterson is charged with forcible sex abuse, a second-degree felony, in Heber City.

Pat Reavy

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam