Judge Denies Mike Lindell’s Request To Stop FBI From Searching His Cell Phone

Topline

A Trump-appointed federal judge denied MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s request to stop federal agents from searching through his cell phone Thursday, one week after the FBI seized the election denier’s phone as part of an investigation into a breach of election equipment in Colorado.

Key Facts

District Court Judge Eric Tostrud denied Lindell’s request for a temporary restraining order that would have prevented the FBI from “taking any action” with the cell phone until the court holds a hearing to determine whether the FBI needs to return it.

The decision comes one day after Lindell sued the FBI to get his phone back, alleging the agency violated his constitutional rights under the 1st, 4th and 5th Amendments by seizing his cell phone and arguing he feared for “his and his friend’s rights” when federal agents surrounded his truck at the Hardee’s drive-through in Minnesota.

The judge’s decision allows FBI investigators to continue searching for evidence of violations of three federal statutes related to identity theft, deliberate damage to a protected computer and conspiring to commit identity theft or damage a protected computer, specifically in relation to attempts to damage or take data from voting machines, according to a search warrant.

Lindell has not been charged with a crime, and the search warrant used to take his phone doesn’t specify whether he’s a target of the federal investigation.

Key Background

Lindell, who has repeatedly spread false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, is a subject of an investigation into a 2021 breach of voting systems in Mesa County, Colorado. He’s listed on a federal search warrant along with six others, including Mesa County election clerk Tina Peters, who was indicted on 10 counts by state prosecutors in March for tampering with voting machines. Peters allegedly helped facilitate the breach in order to prove baseless claims of voter fraud, and she later spoke at a symposium Lindell hosted in South Dakota on the 2020 election. Lindell has since doubled down on his false claims, repeatedly alleging that voting machines “flipped” votes from Trump to President Joe Biden.

Tangent

Two companies that make voting equipment—Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic—have sued Lindell and his company for defamation over his claims that their machines were used to rig the 2020 election. Earlier this week, a federal judge ruled that the Smartmatic lawsuit can move forward, denying Lindell’s motion for dismissal. Smartmatic had claimed Lindell “intenionally stoked the fires of xenophobia and party-divide for the noble purpose of selling his pillows.”

Further Reading

Here’s Why The FBI Is Investigating MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell (Forbes)

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell Sues FBI For Seizing His Phone At A Hardee’s Drive-Through (Forbes)

Court Lets Lawsuit Against Mike Lindell Move Forward—Here’s Where Dominion And Smartmatic’s Defamation Suits Stand Now (Forbes)

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