FBI has served warrant and seized cellphone of U.S. Senator Richard Burr as part of the Justice Department’s probe of stock transactions made by the lawmaker according to media reports.
The North Carolina Republican faced calls to resign after reports he privately warned donors of the dire impact of the coronavirus pandemic in February while selling off up to $1.6 million of his stocks.
Burr has denied any wrongdoing and said he relied solely on news reports to guide decisions on stock sales, amid reports that he and other senators sold off shares after being briefed on the risks of the coronavirus crisis.
Sen. Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, turned over his phone to agents after they served a search warrant on the lawmaker at his residence in the Washington area, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a law enforcement action- the Los Angeles Times first reported on Wednesday.
A separate law enforcement official told the LA Times that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also served a warrant recently to iPhone maker Apple to get information from Burr’s iCloud account.
Law enforcement agents used data received from the company as part of the evidence used to obtain the warrant for the senator’s phone, the report added.
The Justice Department, the FBI and Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
CNN reported in March that the Justice Department began to probe a series of stock transactions made by Burr ahead of the market downturn triggered by the virus outbreak. The probe was done in coordination with the Securities and Exchange Commission.