Another prominent 2020 election denier claims the FBI confiscated his cellphone this week, just a day after a similar seizure against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.
Douglas Frank, a former math teacher from Ohio, is a frequent speaker in Stop The Steal circles. In a Wednesday post on Telegram, Frank claimed FBI agents seized his phone when he landed at an Ohio airport. Frank was previously named in a search warrant for Lindell’s phone, which was confiscated at a Hardee’s restaurant in Minnesota on Tuesday. Both phone seizures appear to stem from a federal probe into an alleged breach of Colorado voting machines by election conspiracy theorists last year.
Reached for comment, the FBI confirmed "that the FBI was at that location executing a search warrant authorized by a federal judge."
“Two FBI agents met me as I got off the plane today,” Frank wrote on Telegram. “They were polite and professional, and we smiled at each other knowingly as they approached me. Of course... they knew that I knew that they knew that I would be expecting them there. We shook hands, and I cooperated fully with them. They had a warrant to confiscate my phone.”
Reached by email, Frank confirmed the phone confiscation. He said that after Lindell’s phone was subpoenaed the previous day, he was “confident that it was imminent.” He confirmed that his phone was seized as part of the same case.
Frank and Lindell are linked to state and federal investigations into a breach of Mesa County voting machines last year. Neither man has been charged.
The state-level case has resulted in felony charges for Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and her colleagues in the county clerk’s office. Peters, who incorrectly blames Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss on voter fraud, is accused of conspiring to steal a local tech worker’s identity, unlawfully breach voting machines in her office’s care, and leaking the machines’ information to conspiracy theorists like Lindell—who falsely claimed that the data revealed election tampering.
Colorado prosecutors claim that Frank held a meeting with Peters and other county clerk staffers in April 2021 to discuss the county’s voting machines and how they might be accessed. During that meeting, prosecutors say, Peters asked whether Frank could open the voting machines. Frank replied that doing so would be illegal. But he suggested putting Peters in touch with a team for an “audit” of the machines. He later told The New Yorker that he contacted Lindell about hiring people to make “backups” of the machines.
A federal probe of the breach also appears to be underway. After Lindell’s phone was seized at Hardee's on Tuesday, the MyPillow CEO shared a copy of a search warrant that indicated an investigation into him and other people associated with the Mesa County breach.
Another Lindell ally, election conspiracy theorist Jeff O’Donnell previously suggested that others had been contacted by the FBI on Tuesday. “Yep FBI visited Mike today (and others),” O’Donnell wrote on Telegram on Tuesday, shortly after Lindell’s phone was taken, but before Frank claims his phone was seized. “I was not one of them for those who might wonder.”
O’Donnell has worked closely with Mesa County election deniers, issuing a report in Peters’ defense earlier this year. Mesa County’s district attorney debunked the report, showing video evidence that proved its key claims to be false.
It’s unclear who else, if anyone, was the subject of a subpoena this week. Lindell’s search warrant described an investigation into him, Tina Peters, Conan James Hayes, Belinda Knisley, Sandra Brown, Sherronna Bishop, and Douglas Frank, “among other co-conspirators known and unknown to the government.”
Reached by phone on Wednesday, Peters did not comment on Lindell's subpoena but instead called for the arrest of Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold. (A Griswold spokesperson did not return a request for comment.) Peters ran for Griswold’s office earlier this year but lost in the Republican primaries. Peters accused state officials of “cheating” in the race, telling campaign supporters that “looking at the results, it’s just so obvious that it should be flipped.” She raised more than $250,000 for a recount of the race, which confirmed her loss by 88,578 votes.
Asked about searches of her property, Peters told The Daily Beast that “I was raided on a fishing expedition in November,” related to the state-level case against her. Reached for comment, Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubenstein said the search, which was conducted by FBI agents and state-level investigators, was a parallel investigation involving state and federal cases. That same day, FBI agents also searched the home of Sherronna Bishop, an associate of Peters in Colorado’s election-denier scene. Bishop later claimed in a live stream that the agents were looking for evidence of a wire fraud conspiracy.
Bishop did not return The Daily Beast’s request for comment after Lindell’s subpoena. When asked on Wednesday about warrants for her phone, she told The New York Times that there was “nothing to report here.”
Hayes, Knisley, and Brown could not be reached for comment. Lindell did not return a request for comment, nor did his fellow home goods mogul-turned-conspiracy theorist Patrick Byrne, a former CEO of Overstock who told the Times that he paid Hayes approximately $200,000 a year. Byrne previously claimed that he FaceTimed with Hayes while Hayes used Mesa County credentials to pose as a computer “nerd” and access the county’s voting machines.
This story has been updated to include comment from the FBI.