A federal judge in Minnesota, Mike Lindell, has rejected the FBI’s challenge to search and seize his phone in a criminal investigation related to the 2020 election.
Judge Eric Tostrud said Lindell, the CEO of My Pillow and a major supporter of former President Donald Trump’s fraud claims, did not show the search was unconstitutional and could not return the phone or get more details. search.
“The government has demonstrated an interest in preventing premature disclosure of search warrant materials during federal criminal investigations. Several factors here justify keeping search warrant materials under seal,” the judge wrote.
The extensive 80-page search warrant affidavit “describes in detail the nature, scope and direction of the government’s investigation and the individuals and details involved.” [activities] Information obtained from recorded communications, including confidential informants and cooperating witnesses. “Premature disclosure of these materials would significantly weaken the government’s criminal investigation, which could taint the government’s investigative window for plaintiffs (and other potential investigative targets) and the investigation as a whole,” the judge continued.
Tostrud said the FBI’s search warrant materials reveal information about individuals who are not the targets of the search, and that “the government’s strong interest in the accuracy of ongoing criminal investigations, as well as the privacy of these connected and unindicted individuals, outweighs prosecutors’ interest in obtaining these search warrant materials.”
“There is no practical way to order a discount,” the judge added in the 80-page order.
Lindell has not been charged with any crime.
Federal authorities in Colorado are investigating violations of the county’s voting system in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election, according to a subpoena issued to Lindell earlier this year.
According to information previously obtained by CNN, the Justice Department is collecting evidence related to three possible crimes in Mesa County, Colorado: identity theft, intentional damage to a protected computer and/or conspiracy to commit one.
The investigation appears to be looking at possible crimes separate from the Jan. 6, 2021, federal criminal investigation into election tampering by Trump associates in late 2020 and early 2021.