https://www.theepochtimes.com/judge-denies-mike-lindells-request-to-have-phone-seized-by-fbi-returned-access-search-warrant-materials_4841457.html

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s request to have his mobile phone returned after it was seized by FBI agents was rejected by a federal judge in Minnesota on Nov. 3, court documents show.

Lindell’s mobile phone was seized by the agency while he was at a Hardee’s drive-through in Mankato, Minnesota, with a friend in September.

Court documents show that the device was taken as part of a Department of Justice (DOJ) probe into alleged identity theft, intentional damage to a protected computer, and conspiracy to commit identity theft or intentionally damage a protected computer.

According to the DOJ, Lindell is among several other individuals, including Mesa County, Colorado, election clerk Tina Peters, who are part of an investigation into the alleged security breach of voting equipment in Mesa County. Peters has maintained her innocence.

Following the seizure of his mobile device, Lindell filed a lawsuit (pdf) in a federal court in Minnesota claiming that the move violated his First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment rights.

The businessman requested that his phone be returned to him and that the DOJ and FBI be prohibited from accessing any data collected from the device or releasing any information that was on his phone. He also asked to see the search warrant materials supporting the search.

Lindell has not been charged with any crime.

“I lost a whole 10 days of data,” Lindell told The Epoch Times. “I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

However, Judge Eric Tostrud, a Trump appointee, said in a 36-page ruling (pdf) on Thursday that Lindell has failed to show that the search and seizure of his mobile device was unconstitutional and that the DOJ “demonstrated a compelling interest in preventing the premature disclosure of search warrant materials during its ongoing federal criminal investigation.”

My Pillow’s Mike Lindell greets attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Bobby Sanchez/The Epoch Times)

‘Significant Governmental Interest in Integrity’ of Ongoing Criminal Probe

That compelling interest outweighs Lindell’s right of access, the judge said.

“Multiple factors here justify keeping the search warrant materials under seal. The extensive, 80-page search warrant affidavit describes in considerable detail ‘the nature, scope, and direction of the government’s investigation and the individuals and specific [activities] involved,’ including information obtained from recorded communications, confidential informants, and cooperating witnesses,” the judge continued.

Tostrud also noted that the search warrant materials also “reveal information about individuals who are not targets” of the search warrant and that “premature disclosure of these materials would significantly undermine the Government’s ongoing criminal investigation, giving Plaintiffs (and potentially, other targets of the investigation) a window into the Government’s investigation that could compromise the investigation as a whole.”

“The significant governmental interest in the integrity of an ongoing criminal investigation, as well as the privacy interests of these associated, uncharged individuals, outweigh Plaintiffs’ interest in access to these search warrant materials,” he wrote.

The judge also said that there is “no practical way” to provide a redacted version of the 80-page warrant to Lindell.

Based on this, the judge denied Lindell’s request to have his phone returned and to access warrant materials that were used for the search.

Lindell has claimed that the FBI targeted him because he has been vocal about allegations of election fraud and voting irregularities during the November 2020 general election.

Lawyers for the businessman have also said that he was not allowed to back up the contents of his phone, which is connected to his hearing aids, and from which he runs five companies, when his mobile device was seized by agents in September.

“That means they could go out to anybody they see as a potential witness, go confiscate their phones, and you won’t have a leg to stand on. We’re completely at their mercy. They’ve weaponized the FBI against our citizens and this has to stop. I’m gonna do everything I can to keep being proactive to try and stop the tyranny that’s going on in this country,” Lindell said.

Eva Fu contributed to this report.

Katabella Roberts

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Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.

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