By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Mike Lindell, the My Pillow Inc chief executive and ally to former President Donald Trump, is under U.S. federal investigation for identity theft and for conspiring to damage a protected computer connected to a suspected voting equipment security breach in Colorado.
The new details about the focus of the investigation were confirmed on Wednesday after Lindell's attorneys uploaded a copy of a search and seizure warrant approved by U.S. Magistrate Judge Tony Leung for Minnesota federal court on Sept. 7.
Leung approved the warrant based on probable cause that Lindell and other possible co-conspirators may have violated federal laws prohibiting identity fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States and causing intentional damage a protected computer.
Lindell's attorneys uploaded the warrant as part of their lawsuit against the Justice Department to demand the return of Lindell's cell phone, which FBI agents seized on Sept. 13 while he was ordering fast food at a drive-through window.
Lindell is the latest person to be swept into federal criminal investigations surrounding Trump and his allies over their failed efforts to overturn the 2020 election results based on false claims of voter fraud.
INVESTIGATIONS INTO ELECTION CLAIMS
The FBI in August 2021 confirmed it had opened a criminal investigation into a suspected security breach of voting equipment in the western Colorado county of Mesa.
The investigation came on the heels of a parallel state investigation, after election-equipment passwords were discovered on a right-wing internet blog.
The equipment at issue in the election security breach investigation were furnished by Dominion Voting Systems, which has sued Trump allies and conservative television networks over baseless claims the company's products were used to rig the election against Trump.
The suspected breach led Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold to decertify the county's 41 devices, and she accused Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters, a Republican and Trump supporter, of assisting with the breach.
Peters, her deputy Belinda Knisley and former elections manager Sandra Brown were indicted on state criminal charges this year in connection with the election security breach.
Knisley has since plead guilty and will testify against Peters, who has maintained she is not guilty of the charges.
Peters, Knisley and Brown are all named as subjects in the Justice Department's criminal investigation, according to the warrant, along with several others.
The warrant indicates the FBI is looking for "all records and information related to damage to any Dominion computerized voting system" and other related data. (Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Josie Kao)