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In Trevor Milton Trial Mark Russell Says Milton Exaggerated As Prows Dissed By Norway NelI

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Sept 19 – The trial of Nikola founder Trevor Milton for wire and securities fraud moved, on September 19, to the direct examination of Nikola's Mark Russell, after the cross examination of Dale Prows.  Inner City Press was there. Thread:

 Milton's lawyer: Isn't it true you were told by Nikola it was OK to use 3 and a half cents for hydrogen?

Dale Prows: I don't remember. Bondi: Read this exhibit for yourself, Mr. Keefe telling you it's OK. Do you remember reading this? Prows: No.

 Bondi: The discussion to tap into the Federal line, who was involved? Prows: Mark Russell. And I don't remember who else. Bondi: Here's an email to CEO Mark Russell with you cc-ed, right? Prows: Yes. Bondi: We offer into evidence. AUSA: Objection. Judge: Sustained

 [Milton's lawyer Ken Caruso says he has an issue, but raised too late, for now] Bondi: So Nikola made a deal with Nel in Norway for hydrogen electrolyzers, right? Prows: I believe so. Bondi: Let me show you DX 1646...

An email from CEO Mark Russell. Bondi: So you felt emasculated by how the talks were going with Nel - Nel's CEO was making you out to be incompetent, no? You were angry? Prows: That's a strong word.

Bondi: You were upset at Trevor Milton, right?

Prows: Yes. Bondi: And you still are? Prows: No

Bondi: Let me ask you about discounts. If you're buying beer, it's cheaper if you buy it in bulk at Costco, right? Prows: I don't know. I don't drink beer.  Bondi laughs.

Bondi: Mr. Prows, are you aware of negotiations between Travel Centers of America and Trevor Milton in March 2020? AUSA: Objection. Bondi: March 19, 2020. Prows: Somewhat.

Bondi: You weren't involved and it upset out, right?

 Bondi: It upset YOU, right? And you aren't afraid to express your views, correct?

Prows: Sometimes I am. Bondi: And you never complained to Trevor Milton about his tweets, right? Prows: I did not. Bondi: It's no surprising, since you weren't on social media, right?

 Bondi: When did you first hear Trevor Milton on the Tesla Charts podcast? Prows: I don't recall. Bondi: Did the government play it for you? Prows: I don't recall.

 Bondi: You said, We are building hydrogen stations - you were talking about the business plan, correct? Context matters, right? Prows: It does.

 Now Bondi is playing his own video podcast selections: Auto Line. It's in four panel, Hollywood Squares format. Milton says, we have $800 million in contracts with Busch, it's not B.S...  Bondi: He said eventually - that's future tense, right? Prows: Yes.

 At the break, AUSA Roos complains that Bondi has been playing exhibits without saying their numbers. Bondi says he'll talk to the court reporter, with the government present, and clear it up. Thread will continue. Judge Ramos: Government, call you next witness.

AUSA Jordan Estes: The government calls Mark Russell. Judge Ramos: You're a little tall for the box, I apologize for that. AUSA Estes: Where do you work? Mark Russell: Nikola. I'm the CEO.

 AUSA: Did you have discussions before you joined Nikola? Russell: Yes, that I would become CEO once the company went public. Trevor was prone to exaggeration.

Milton's lawyer: Objection! Judge Ramos: Overruled.

AUSA: Did you have conversations with Mr. Milton about the need to be accurate?

Russell: Yes. I told him as executive chairman, we would review his statements. AUSA: How would describe the volume of Mr. Milton's public statements? Russell: He went on a blitz.

AUSA Estes: Could you describe at a high level -- Marc Mukasey: I object to the term at a high level. She can ask about particular statements.

AUSA: Did you two describe the stock price? Russell: He was very excited when it went up. He was very focused on it

Russell: He would say, I bring the retail investors. I would say, I don't really want them. (Laughs). He was say, he could use social media to reach them.

AUSA: After the short sellers' report, what did you do? Russell: The board met, with Mr. Milton excused.

 AUSA: And what happened after that? Russell: Trevor resigned. AUSA: What degrees to you have? Russell: I have a law degree. I was a Worthington when I met Trevor Milton.

AUSA: Did you and Mr. Milton have any agreement with regard to the voting rights of the shares he offered you?

 Russell: He kept the voting rights. He had extraordinary control. AUSA: What were your duties as President? Russell: Day to day operations.

Russell: Trevor was upset with the bankers. He said, They don't know how to sell.

AUSA: How did the bankers respond? Mukasey: Objection! Judge Ramos: Overruled. Russell: They said, We do this for a living.

AUSA: Where is the NASDAQ based? Russell: Here in New York. [Again, venue established]

AUSA: Was Trevor's father on the board? Russell: He was. And it was an issue of governance. And none of the independent board members had public company experience.

AUSA: Mr. Russell, did you ever have discussions with Mr. Milton about board derailing founders?

Russell: Yes. He was concerned about it.... Tesla has unveiled a prototype of the CyberTruck. Trevor said it was ugly and he could do one that was much better.

 Judge Ramos: And there's where we'll leave it for today. Jurors, we'll see you tomorrow.

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


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