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Mike Lindell loses court bid to reclaim phone seized by FBI, access warrant details

Mike Lindell loses court bid to reclaim phone seized by FBI, access warrant details



CNN

A federal judge in Minnesota has rejected Mike Lindell’s challenge to the FBI search and seizure of his phone in a 2020 election-related criminal probe.

Judge Eric Tostrud said Lindell, CEO of My Pillow and a prominent backer of former President Donald Trump’s false voter fraud claims, had not shown that the search was unconstitutional, and said he could not have his phone returned or get more access to details from the search.

“The Government has demonstrated a compelling interest in preventing the premature disclosure of search-warrant materials during its ongoing federal criminal investigation. Multiple factors here justify keeping the search warrant materials under seal,” the judge wrote.

“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. 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 judge continued.

Tostrud noted that the FBI’s search warrant materials “reveal information about individuals who are not targets” of the search and said that “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.”

The judge added that “there is no practical way to order redactions” of the 80-page warrant.

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 issued to Lindell earlier this year.

The records, previously obtained 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 result by Trump acolytes in late 2020 and early 2021.

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