A federal judge has denied MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s request to get his phone back a week after it was seized by the FBI at a Hardee’s drive-thru.
District Judge Eric Tostrud, a Trump appointee, denied Lindell’s request to stop the FBI from searching his phone as part of an investigation into the alleged manipulation of voting machines in Colorado.
Lindell asked for a temporary restraining order that would prevent the FBI from “taking any action.” Judge Tostrud ruled that Lindell’s evidence did not show that his rights had been violated and said the pillow master did not provide proper answers or evidence to the legal questions necessary to make such a request.
The motion was filed by Lindell’s attorney Alan Dershowitz, who told Law and Crime’s Sidebar channel that while he “agrees with [Lindell] on very little,” he says, “is critical for people on my side of the political fence – Biden supporters – to hold the Justice Department accountable for trying to attack our political enemies.”
In his filing, Lindell said the Justice Department’s order and method of confiscation in obtaining the phone violated his First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. However, Judge Tostrud ruled that a temporary restraining order is an “extraordinary remedy”. He said “absent a clear answer” to rule 41g, which refers to federal criminal procedure 41(g), he could not approve the order. The rule states that “the court must receive evidence on any matter of fact necessary to rule on the motion.”
Judge Tostrud said: “It would be tiresome to grant an exemption under this rule if the moving parties do not explain anywhere how the procedural framework and substantive standards of the rule support the request.”
He continued: “Whether Rule 41(g) requires the return of the cell phone is not clear, and that is an understatement.”
The judge also noted Wednesday’s ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which overturned Judge Aileen Cannon’s injunction regarding the approximately 100 classified-marked documents seized from the Mar-A-Lago residence of former President Donald Trump, destroyed and significantly reworked. Judge Tostrud noted similarities in the Trump case:
“[W]If the owner of seized property seeks injunctive relief for the return of property while the case is under investigation (i.e. before criminal charges are filed), the court must also weigh the government’s interest in preserving the property against the owner’s right to return it.”
Tostrud eventually ordered Lindell’s side to “contact the court to obtain a hearing date”. A briefing schedule, he said, will then be drawn up.
Lindell has not been charged with any crime.