By Hannah Rabinowitz, CNN
Updated: Thu, 22 Sep 2022 22:57:42 GMT
A federal judge denied Mike Lindell's request to reclaim his phone from investigators after it was recently seized by the FBI at a Hardee's drive-thru in Minnesota as he returned from a duck hunting trip.
Judge Eric Tostrud said that Lindell, CEO of My Pillow and prominent backer of former President Donald Trump's false voter fraud claims, did not prove that his rights were violated. Tostrud, who is a Trump appointee, also said that Lindell did not properly answer the legal questions required to make such a request.
Lindell had alleged that the FBI's recent seizure of his phone 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.
Lindell's challenge followed others from prominent Trump supporters and advisers, who had their own phones seized in investigations related to January 6, 2021, and the 2020 election. Challenges of such seizures have routinely failed in getting 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.