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Trevor Milton Said I Don't Give a Sh*t About The Environment, Nikola Trial Witness Says

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell book
BBC - Honduras - CIA Trial book - NY Mag

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Sept 13 – The awaited trial of Nikola founder Trevor Milton for wire and securities fraud kicked off on September 13 with opening arguments. Inner City Press was there and live tweeted it. Thread here.

Then the first witness, Paul Lackey, thread here

First witness Paul Lackey. Lackey: I focus on electric vehicles. I'm based out of Portland, Oregon. We worked with Nikola some years ago, on a prototype, the Nikola 1, electric and natural gas. AUSA: Who founded Nikola?

Lackey: Trevor Milton. I worked with him.

After Judge Ramos give jurors a break (during which Milton whispers with Mukasey) they're back. Lackey: When we brought up making the prototype zero-emissions, Mr. Milton was dismissive. He said, I don't give a shit about the environment, I just want to make money

 Lackey: I was shocked. At that time about climate change I was a bright eyed idealist -- Mukasey: Objection! Judge Ramos: Overruled.

 AUSA: When you were working on the truck, what was Mr. Milton doing? Lackey: He was sitting in his office, I don't know what he was doing. He would give tours to people in suits, he'd be telling them the truck was 2000 horsepower, it's shredding tires. It was false

AUSA: How was running Nikola's social media? Lackey: Trevor Milton. AUSA: We enter into evidence these tweets. GX S-5... And now, the video for the truck launch. "It's my honor to introduce Trevor Milton!" [Cheering, loud music]

Milton (on video) We have barbeque up here, and unlimited drinks. Come up on the stage. You can mingle and have fun. You can see the screens, we have a chain to protect them, but they work. AUSA: Mr. Lackey, did they in fact work? Lackey: No they did not.

 Milton (on video) You'll see this is a real truck, not a pusher. AUSA: Mr. Lackey, what is a pusher? Lackey: A truck you have to push. AUSA: What the Nikola 1 a pusher? Lackey: Yes, we had to push it up there.

 Now audio of Milton telling a reporter, This is a fully functioning vehicle, it's not just a pusher. AUSA: Mr. Lackey, was it a fully functioning vehicle? Lackey: No, I would call it a pusher.

 AUSA, Mr. Lackey, I show you -- Defense lawyer Ken Caruso: Voir dire! Mr. Lackey, did you take this photograph? Lackey: No. Caruso: Objection. Q: Is it a close up from the video? Lackey: Yes. Judge Ramos: Overruled.

 AUSA: Mr. Lackey, did you reach out to journalists to tell them why you called the Nikola 1 a pusher? Lackey: Yes. To Ms. Hall and to Fred Lambert. AUSA: Did they publish stories about what you told them? Lackey: No.

Caruso objects to Lackey saying Milton had a history of misstatements. With jurors out, the AUSA acknowledges that Lackey joined up with short sellers and made some $600,000, says Mukasey made Lackey's views relevant by saying he is only in it for the money. Overruled.

AUSA: Mr. Lackey, what did you do when you saw Mr. Milton's tweets stating that the Nikola 1 was not a pusher? Lackey: I set up an anonymous Twitter account, called "Nikola Insider."

 AUSA: Mr. Lackey, why are you testifying here today? Lackey: I believe it is the right thing to do. Trial will continue tomorrow - but once Milton left the courthouse, Inner City Press asked him about not giving a sh*t about the environment. Video here.

Sixteen jurors (12 "real" jurors, 4 alternates who might deliberate) have been selected. Story with more (demographics) on Patreon here.

The case is US v. Milton, 21-cr-478 (Ramos)


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