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Donald Trump

Trump inadvertently blocks return of close ally Mike Lindell's phone

Former President Donald Trump's litigation over documents he took to his Florida home inadvertently led to a judge rejecting a request by MyPillow founder Mike Lindell to regain access to his cellphone after FBI agents seized it at a Hardee's drive-thru earlier this month.

Lindell, a close ally of the 45th president, had his motion for a temporary restraining order denied by U.S. District Judge Eric Tostrud, thwarting the pillow entrepreneur's efforts to regain access to his mobile device that was seized by federal agents last week.

The FBI seized Lindell's phone on Sept. 13 while he was waiting at the fast food drive-thru in Minnesota. Lindell filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court, seeking a temporary restraining order that would require the government to stop accessing his phone and return it.


But Tostrud cited a Wednesday ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that significantly altered a Trump-appointed district judge's special master order in the litigation battle between Trump and the Justice Department.

“When 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 wrote Thursday, citing the 11th Circuit's decision from one day before.

Adding that the temporary restraining order amounted to an "extraordinary remedy," Tostrud said he rejected Lindell's motion because he wanted to hear from both sides of the litigation battle before taking such a broad step.

Tostrud also ordered Lindell to contact the court to obtain a hearing date, noting that after he does so, a briefing schedule would be established.


Lindell's Sept. 20 lawsuit targeted Attorney General Merrick Garland and the U.S. government in his pursuit of regaining the seized cellphone. His attorneys also revealed the FBI's warrant on Wednesday, showing the DOJ is investigating the device for information potentially involving identity theft and a suspected voting equipment breach in Colorado's Mesa County.

One of the MyPillow CEO's legal counselors, law professor Alan Dershowitz, toldLaw & Crime on Sept. 21 that he intends to seek a special master or a court-appointed outside party member to review the information seized as part of the FBI's investigation.