By Katelyn Polantz, CNN Reporter, Crime and Justice
Mike Lindell, CEO of My Pillow and prominent backer of former President Donald Trump‘s false voter fraud claims, is challenging in federal court the FBI’s recent seizure of his phone at a Hardee’s restaurant drive-thru in Minnesota as he returned from a duck hunting trip.
He alleges it may have been an illegal search — where he was questioned about what he knew around the 2020 election and election machines in Colorado — without properly being explained his rights or being allowed to leave the drive-thru without handing over his phone.
The Justice Department had obtained a warrant, approved by a federal judge, to perform the search, according to the court record.
Still, Lindell claims his constitutional rights were violated, in part taking issue with how long it took during the search for agents to allow him to speak with his attorney. He wants to block the Justice Department from having access to his phone data, which he says he uses for his pillow business and other business and personal matters, such as speaking with his lawyer and controlling his hearing aids.
Lindell’s challenge of the DOJ follows other prominent Trump supporters and advisers challenging their own phone seizures, in investigations related to January 6, 2021, and the 2020 election. None of the people who have tried to challenge their phone seizures have successfully gotten a court to intervene.
Lindell has not been charged with any crime.
Federal authorities in Colorado are investigating the breach of a county’s voting system as part of efforts to subvert the 2020 election results, according to subpoena documents obtained by CNN.
The records, obtained recently by CNN, showed the Justice Department is gathering evidence related to three potential crimes in Mesa County, Colorado: identity theft, intentional damage to a protected computer and/or conspiracy to commit either.
The investigation appears to be looking at possible crimes separate from the January 6, 2021, federal criminal investigation into the attempt to overturn the election’s result by Trump acolytes in late 2020 and early 2021.
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