MyPillow chief Mike Lindell, a staunch supporter of former president Donald Trump, has sued the FBI for seizing his cellphone at a Hardee’s drive-through last week, alleging the agency violated his rights as he continues to peddle unsupported conspiracies about the 2020 election.
Lindell claims the FBI and Department of Justice violated his constitutional rights when FBI agents seized his phone at a Hardee’s drive-through as he returned from a duck hunting trip last week.
The court filing said Lindell feared “for his and his friend’s lives” and was “prepared to ram one of the vehicles to escape” after federal agents surrounded his truck to execute a warrant to seize his phone, which had been authorized by a federal judge.
Lindell said he was not allowed to leave until he handed over his phone, which he said amounted to “unlawful detention.”
Agents also failed to explain Lindell’s rights to him and refused his requests to call his attorney while they questioned him about issues including Dominion Voting Systems, his air travel and Tina Peters, the Mesa County, Colorado, election official who was indicted earlier this year for allegedly tampering with voting machines, the filing claims.
Lindell, who was not charged with a crime or arrested, also said that the government had to have been tracking him for the FBI to have been able to execute the search warrant at Hardee’s, as he did not publicize his plans to visit.
The lawsuit demands the return of Lindell’s cellphone, as well as any data obtained from it, which the government should be prevented from releasing or using in any investigation.
Lindell, like many of Trump’s closest allies, has frequently found himself in hot water over his continued claims that the 2020 election was stolen. He has been sued for his repeated and unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud, notably by Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic for defamation, and says he has been canceled by major retailers in retaliation for his claims. He is a vocal opponent of computerized voting systems—something he reiterates in this lawsuit and insists is protected by the First Amendment—which he believes enabled wholesale fraud in the 2020 election. While he claims to have solid proof that the election was stolen from Trump, of widespread voter fraud and the faults of voting machines, Lindell’s evidence has not stood up to even basic scrutiny.
It is not clear whether Lindell himself is under investigation and he previously claimed agents were asking him over his ties to Peters. An image copied from a voting machine, allegedly by Peters, was uploaded to Frank Speech, a site he operates and Lindell previously said he had funded her legal defense directly, though later retracted the statement and said he had been mistaken, according to the New York Times. The case against Peters, who has pleaded not guilty to charges over a ploy to download data from voting machines, is one of several involving people allegedly accessing voting machines to retrieve data that could apparently prove conspiracy theories the election was stolen.