MyPillow seller and donald trump booster Mike Lindel lost his bid to return his cellphone seized on Thursday.
In a lengthy and stark ruling, a federal judge appointed by Trump also refused to order the government to stop reviewing records from their ongoing criminal investigation — and denied a separate motion to allow Lindell to see the documents of the search warrant in support of this search.
“Plaintiffs cannot show a likelihood of success on the merits of their claims for another important reason – that Plaintiffs impermissibly seek to rely on the equitable jurisdiction of this Court to bar a federal criminal investigation,” said said the U.S. District Judge. Eric C. Tostrud written in a 36-page notice and order.
Thursday’s ruling was long overdue since Tostrud dismissed Lindell and his lawyer by Alan Dershowitz application for a temporary restraining order in September, citing Trump’s defeat in the 11th Circuit on similar legal theories.
Lindell and his company sued the FBI a week after officers seized his cellphone from a Hardee fast food lane in Mankato, Minnesota on September 13, 2022. The MyPillow boss said he was returning from a trip duck hunting with his friend in Iowa, when officers questioned him on various matters and took his company-issued phone.
The interview lasted between 40 and 45 minutes, he said.
Although Lindell’s lawsuit alleged a series of constitutional violations — including his First Amendment rights to associate freely, his Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure, and Fifth Amendment due process guarantees — Tostrud rejected each of these arguments in turn.
Since the 2020 presidential election, Lindell has been a source of conspiracy theories explaining Trump’s defeat, and his free speech argument claims the government is reviewing his audit of the results. But the judge noted that officers were looking at possible violations of federal law, not Lindell’s held beliefs.
‘At best, the plaintiffs allege that the Attorney General’ has threatened criminal and civil action against those who pursue audits of the voting charts whether these audits violate federal laws“,” the judge wrote, italicizing those words in his decision. “It is not the government threatening retaliation for speech or affiliation. This is the government threatening criminal charges against people who allegedly violated federal law in their efforts to pursue audits. voting tables.
Rejecting Lindell’s claim that he was searched based on a “blanket warrant,” the judge added, “Plaintiffs have not, and likely will not, demonstrate a violation of the Fourth Amendment.”
Tostrud flatly rejected the suggestion that the officers withheld information from the search warrant request in order to obtain the data. The judge also noted that no charges were filed against Lindell.
“The plaintiffs did not file a motion to suppress evidence, nor could they, in the absence of a criminal indictment,” the notice said. “And the plaintiffs have made no claim under any other overarching legal theory that would enable them to assert their constitutional rights.”
The ruling circles repeatedly come back to this key point.
“If criminal charges are brought against him, Lindell will have adequate recourse to challenge the search, such as filing a motion to suppress any evidence allegedly improperly seized,” the notice said.
Lindell said he operated five businesses from his cell phone and, according to the opinion, he claimed “his business and his health would be affected” by his inability to use it.
“These assertions are not convincing,” concluded the judge. “Lindell himself admitted that the contents of his cell phone were backed up just days before the warrant was executed. […] He should therefore have access via a backup to all commercial information, except for a few days. Additionally, Lindell’s'[s]Implementing unsubstantiated claims of business disruption or speculation of future harm are not sufficient to establish irreparable harm.
Lindell’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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