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In Trevor Milton Trial Robinhood Day Trader In Wheelchair Is Blamed For Not Reading EDGAR

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Sept 22 – The trial of Nikola founder Trevor Milton for wire and securities fraud moved, on September 22, to General Motors witness Daman, USC social media and business professor Dina Mayzlin - and in between, a Robinhood day trader in a wheelchair. Inner City Press was there. Thread:

Assistant US Attorney Roos: Play the exhibit.

Milton's lawyer Torrey Young; No objection.

Video of Milton on Bloomberg TV saying, "We provide most of this truck, absolutely.

AUSA Roos: Was that accurate?

GM witness Daman: No.

Now audio of Milton interview with Financial Times. He says, "Nikola brings to the truck all these stuff that is delicate, all the important stuff."

AUSA: Was that accurate? Witness: No. For example, the over the air updating would be coming from GM, their servers

Now cross examination of this witness, General Motors' Daman, by Milton's lawyer Torrey Young.

Young: When GM makes new vehicles, it takes 700 people and five years, correct?

Daman: Yes. But it was expedited for the Hummer.

Young; Nikola in Arizona is smaller, right? Like, 100 people then vs 1100 in the GM EV [Electric Vehicle] program?

Daman: We started with fewer. Young: At some point you learned that the Badger prototype was being built, as a mule or show car? Daman: I don't know.

Torrey Young: Did you ever speak about the Badger with anyone from TechnoSport?

Daman: No. Torrey Young: And you were not involved in any talks about the frunk? [Front Trunk]

AUSA Roos: Objection. Assumes fact not in evidence. Judge Ramos: Sustained.

Torrey Young: And you've never met Trevor Milton? AUSA Roos: Objection. Judge Ramos: Overruled. Daman: No, I never met Trevor Milton. Torrey Young: No further questions.

Now after a break (next witness is in a wheelchair), he's on: Joseph Ryan, with a finance degree.

AUSA Jorden Estes: Have you ever invested in the stock market?

Ryan: Yes. AUSA: What trading platforms do you use? Ryan: Robinhood, TD Ameritrade, for blue chips

AUSA: What's Robinhood?

Ryan: Zero commission. My portfolio with them is riskier. Also WeBull.

AUSA: What media do you use? Ryan: WSJ, Googling ticker symbols... Robinhood will link to articles.

AUSA: Have you ever invested in Nikola? Ryan: Yes. And those are my trades in it. Milton's lawyer

Mukasey: Objection! Lack of foundation, lack of authentication. Judge Ramos: Do you want to come to the sidebar? [They do. Another whispered conversation]

 They're back. Judge Ramos: The objection is overruled.

AUSA: How do you read your trading history? Ryan: I was day-trading Nikola.  AUSA: Did you watch Trevor Milton on TV?

 Ryan: Robinhood would like to videos or transcript.

AUSA Estes plays video of Milton on Yahoo! Finance, then another. AUSA: Did you rely on Mr. Milton's statement that Nikola had billions of dollars in binding orders, not reservations? Ryan: Yes I did.

 AUSA Estes: Nothing further. Judge Ramos: Cross-examination. Mukasey: You understand stocks go up and down, right?

Ryan: Yes. Mukasey: Day trading is extremely risky, right? AUSA Estes: Objection! Judge Ramos: Overruled. Ryan: Maybe.

Mukasey: Did you ever look at SEC filings? Ryan: Not sure. Mukasey: Didn't you tell the government when you met with them that you didn't read SEC filings? Ryan: Maybe. I read news -- Mukasey: I'm super interested in your views on that, we'll get to it.

 Mukasey: You are aware that on the Nikola company website there is a contact us link - did you ever use it? Ryan: No.

Mukasey: You bought and sold $60,000 in Nikola stock in 34 minutes and made $1000, right? Ryan: I don't recall.

Mukasey: You said you read Barrons? Ryan: Barrons, also Reuters (pronounces it Rooters), and other sites.  Mukasey: I have no more questions. AUSA Estes: Do you believe you are a reasonable investor?

Mukasey: Objection! Judge Ramos: Overruled.

Ryan: Yes. Mukasey: Shouldn't you have read some of the SEC filings?

Next witness is a professor at USC business school who specializes in... social media, Dina Mayzlin. She's citing herself on Google Scholar

After a break, AUSA asked Mayzlin who much she charges an hour for this. Mayzlin: $850 an hour. AUSA: And what did you use?

Mayzlin: Twitter, StockTwits and Reddit.

And so on... Trial will continue.

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


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