Federal agents have seized the private cell phone of Republican Senator Richard Burr, reportedly serving him with a search warrant amid a Justice Department probe into suspicious stock trades he made soon after Covid-19 hit the US

The North Carolina senator was presented with the warrant at his Washington-area residence on Wednesday night, the LA Times reported, citing a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The move comes as the DOJ intensifies its probe into a series of stock sales Burr made in February, just before US markets took a nosedive, possibly on the basis of information gleaned during confidential briefings on the coronavirus outbreak.

An adviser to Burr, Alice Fisher, told the Hill earlier this month that Burr “participated in the stock market based on public information and he did not coordinate his decision with Mr. [Gerald] Fauth,” referring to Burr’s brother-in-law, who also made significant stock sales around the same time as the senator.

Burr sold between $628,000 and $1.7 million in stock holdings through 33 separate transactions in mid February, according to ProPublica, which first reported the sales. Though the senator received daily briefings from US health officials before the sell-off, he has denied using his position as a lawmaker to inform his decisions in the stock market.

In addition to Burr, who also serves as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the DOJ is probing other officials as well, including Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) – whose husband sold off more than $1 million in stock in a biotechnology firm in January – and Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), who made a smaller sale around the same period. Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler (R) has also come under suspicion after dumping between $1.2 and $3.1 million in stocks soon after attending a Senate Health Committee briefing on the outbreak in January. All of them claim the transactions were routine.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!