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The Nikola Founder’s Trial Proves Tesla Rival Built On Lies

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The Nikola Founder's Trial Proves Tesla Rival Built On Lies

(CTN News) – Nikola Corp. (NKLA)  founder Trevor Milton was convicted of securities fraud and wire fraud Friday. Multiple years in prison are possible.

In 2015, Milton created a zero-emissions truck company and technology company that prosecutors alleged he misrepresented the truth on multiple occasions. It reached a value of $34 billion after going public and for a time exceeded Ford Motor Co.

He was accused of exaggerating and lying about the technological capabilities of his trucks.

Additionally, he would fabricate the number of orders pending for the trucks to make investors believe that business was booming for the company.

Five hours were spent deliberating.

Milton resigned from Nikola in 2020 after public awareness of his falsifications spread. $125 million was paid to settle an SEC investigation.

Government’s Case

An advertisement posted to Nikola’s Twitter account – at Milton’s direction, prosecutors said – showed a semi-truck driving on a desert road.

According to prosecutors, the truck was towed to a hilltop and rolled down it with its door taped shut and batteries removed.

A Nikola-branded truck was actually a General Motors truck.

Milton sold a ranch in Utah to an ill-fated buyer. Milton made him accept Nikola stock as payment by lying about the company’s hydrogen-fuel production.

According to prosecutors, Milton was a con man, while the defense said he was an inspirational entrepreneur.

Nikola employees and ordinary investors were prosecution witnesses. Mr. Milton’s public statements and interviews concerned company executives.

“At one point, Nikola executives staged an intervention and changed passwords to prevent Mr. Milton from using corporate social-media accounts.”

Defense weighs in

The defense called only one witness. Harvard Law School professor Allen Ferrell testified that investors generally ignored Milton’s statements between when his company went public and when he resigned.

Video was also used to pump Nokila’s products. The Energizer Bunny would have to be indicted otherwise,” Milton’s lawyer, Marc Mukasey, insisted.

Milton’s lawyers argued that prosecutors were overzealous when picking through his comments on podcasts, social media, and television.

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