‘A Stretch’: Judge Denies Mike Lindell’s Plea to Get Phone Back

·2 min read
Jeff Swensen/Getty
Jeff Swensen/Getty

A federal judge has denied MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s request to have his phone returned a week after it was seized by the FBI at a Hardee’s drive-thru.

District Court Judge Eric Tostrud, a Trump appointee, denied Lindell’s request to stop the FBI searching through his phone as part of an investigation into the alleged tampering of voting machines in Colorado.

Lindell was asking for a temporary restraining order that would stop the FBI from “taking any action.” Judge Tostrud ruled that Lindell’s evidence did not prove that his rights were violated and said the pillow maven did not provide the appropriate answers or evidence to the legal questions required to make such a request.

The motion was filed by Lindell’s attorney, Alan Dershowitz, who told Law and Crime’s Sidebar channel that although he “agrees with [Lindell] on very little,” he believes it “critically important for people on my side of the political fence—Biden supporters—to hold the Justice Department accountable for trying to target our political enemies.”

In his filing, Lindell said the Justice Department’s warrant and method of seizure in obtaining the phone was a violation of his First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights. Judge Tostrud, however, ruled that a temporary restraining order is an “extraordinary remedy.” He said “absent an obvious answer” to Rule 41g, which references Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(g), he could not approve the order. The rule states that “the court must receive evidence on any factual issue necessary to decide the motion.”

Judge Tostrud said “it would be a stretch to grant relief on the basis of this rule when the moving parties nowhere explain how the rule’s procedural framework and substantive standards support the request.”

He continued: “Whether Rule 41(g) requires the cellphone’s return is not obvious, and that’s understating things.”

The judge also made note of the Wednesday ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that overturned and significantly reworked Judge Aileen Cannon’s injunction with regard to the approximately 100 documents bearing classified markings seized from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago residence. Judge Tostrud noted similarities in the Trump case:

“[W]hen the owner of seized property seeks injunctive relief for the return of property while the case remains in the investigative stage (i.e. before criminal charges are brought), the district court must also balance the government’s interest in retaining the property against the owner’s right to get it back.”

Tostrud finally ordered Lindell’s side to “contact the court to obtain a hearing date.” A briefing schedule, he said, will then be established.

Lindell has not been charged with any crime.

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