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Nikola Trial of Trevor Milton Resumes After 9 Day COVID Pause With US Closing Argument

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 13 – The trial of Nikola founder Trevor Milton for wire and securities fraud moved, on October 3 through the direct to the cross examination of the Harvard defense witness, at $1250 an hour. Inner City Press was there, and live tweeted - until, after the end of the tiral day, it emerged that Trevor Milton's lead counsel Marc Mukasey has tested positive for COVID and "cannot enter the courthouse."

Then, past 5 pm, this:

Judge Ramos: Unfortunately one of the members of the defense team has had a medical issue which will require us to in some fashion postpone the presentation of evidence and summations. I have spoke with both sides and we agree is to adjourn trial until next Tuesday.

Earlier thread.

On October 13, the trial resumed with the US closing argument, thread here:

Jury entering! Judge Ramos: Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, it is a feat of engineering to get you all here. I trust you have not consumed media about the case. Mr. Bondi? Milton's counsel Bondi: We moved into evidence these Defense Exhibits, under stipulation

 Milton's lawyer Mukasey: The defense rests and we'd like to make a motion at sidebar. Judge Ramos: Ladies and gentlemen, this will take just a few moments. [Whispered sidebar]

 Judge Ramos: Now, the government's summation. AUSA Jordan Estes: Trevor Milton is a con man. Why did he do this? Money and power. You heard from Kim Brady he wanted to be in the Forbes top 400 - an astounding level of greed. This fraud was brazen.

AUSA Estes: Mark Russell told you, Nikola had not produced any hydrogen. Kim Brady told you the same thing. Milton's statements were simply false. The defense argues the statements were about the business model. But he used the word "now."

AUSA Estes: They had no stations, no permits, nothing. Milton said, We've been able to do this in our locations. But they didn't have any locations.

 AUSA Estes: You may want to help the environment, but if it's going to cost double, people are not going to switch. So the cost is important. Now, consider the Badger. Defendant lied over and over again. It was directed at retail investors.

 AUSA Estes: He claimed they had a Badger ready to go out of a showroom. He made his employees build a show truck. It was smoke and mirrors. He claimed they built the truck from the ground up. But it was Ford F-150 parts. He lied about GM, too

AUSA Estes: He started saying they already had the Badger. He said, That's why we built the Badger. But all they had were simulations. He said it could go 700 miles in a real environment.

AUSA Estes: Babiarz saw this was a fraud, to pump the stock price. GX 418, an interview with Fox Business. Maria Bartiromo lied to by Milton. GX 420, he said "We built that." He said, You can order with hydrogen fuel well. GX 421, He said, Further than a Tesla

AUSA Estes: He then told a totally bananas lie about the hydrogen water fountain. Babiarz told you he'd never heard of it. Milton Googled, Can you drink water from a fuel cell? He had not consulted his engineers. He's just Googling and tweeting AUSA

Estes: The Discovery channel was thinking of filming the Badger work in Italy. Milton was concerned about it - so the Discovery shoot did not take place. He said, the steering wheel is too similar to Ford

 AUSA Estes: For the video of the truck rolling, he said he wanted to get a million views. That is, to blast this lie all over the Internet. [Plays video, with music]

 AUSA Estes: People investing in the company are watching the videos. The defendant bragged about his statements moved the stock price. There were also lied about orders. A podcast host said, They are letters of intent. Milton said, They are signed, billions of dollars.

Estes: These orders were cancellable. But Milton called them binding. The retail investors told you it was important to them... The defendant also lied to Peter Hicks, straight out of his fraud playbook. It took place on a phone call.

The lies were familiar...

AUSA Estes: The defendant did all this intentionally. He repeated the same lies over and over again.

AUSA Estes: They referred to another company that was sued for misrepresentation --

Milton's lawyer: Objection!

Judge Ramos: Overruled.

AUSA Estes: Milton was advised to get off social media, or to allow pre-screening. He did neither.

 AUSA Estes: The others, they did an intervention with Milton. They told him he had to vet everything. They talked about resigning. Milton told Britton Worthen, the lawyer, that he was the boss. Russell said he wished Milton wasn't so active on Twitter

 AUSA Estes: You heard how they had to change the passwords to the social media accounts. But he got them back... To the investors who lost money, there is nothing entertaining.

Judge Ramos: Jurors, I apologize we've gone long. We'll take our break now.

Coverage will continue.

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


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