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In Nikola Trial of Trevor Milton Closing By Mukasey Mocks Day Traders & Trial-by-Tweets

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.

Then, the defense summation by Marc Mukasey, thread here:

Milton's lawyer Mukasey: It is a distortion to say Trevor Milton intended to commit fraud when the statements he made were cheered on by the Nikola board of directors. All the material facts were full disclosed.

Mukasey: Trevor Milton told people to go read the SEC filings. The US' evidence is gossipy text messages between low level employees. He voluntarily agreed to a lock-up period on  NKLA  shares.

 Mukasey: The two investors, they couldn't even remember Trevor Milton's statements they say they relied on. There's no record of anyone saying, Hey Trevor, you're crossing a criminal line here.

Mukasey: It is the ultimate distortion to say Trevor Milton intended to commit fraud when none of those who came to testify said he intended to commit fraud. Don't you think that in a fraud case, someone would say that?

 Mukasey: This is a stunning hole in the US' case and cries out for four not guilty verdicts. But it gets worse. You saw Mark Russell and Kim Brady. Is there anyone in this room who thinks these two would stand around while Trevor Milton committed fraud?

Mukasey: If Trevor was going to commit fraud, would he do it openly, on social media?  Remember, they wanted to put Trevor out there. They used the Nikola studio.

 Mukasey: Milton said openly that he was focused on the stock price, to the Boy Scouts, Mark Russell and Kim Brady. The investors didn't say they invested on any statement. So he's not guilty.

 Mukasey: Yes, there were times that Trevor used the wrong tense, the present tense. But Kim Brady did it too. Mark Russell too [Audio played: "Which is what we started with before we made the hydrogen"]

Mukasey: No one's putting him in handcuffs. Mukasey: Kim Brady called the Hindenburg report a hit job. Then he changed his tunes when the government told him to. Am I saying all the Nikola witnesses are liars? No... But what they said, changed.

 Mukasey: They were telling Trevor Milton, "You're all good, bro." Then they changed, when they got a government subpoena. Look at the testimony of Stephanie Amzallag - she told us 63 times she couldn't recall. When witnesses have amnesia, you should have doubts

 Mukasey: On hydrogen, Nikola itself said they could do it at 4 dollars. Trevor said, it was two years out. Does this sound like a fraud scheme, where the fraudster suddenly tells the truth? And they promised you a Nikola engineer. But all you got was pencil guy

 Mukasey: When Trevor tweeted at Elon Musk, it was competition, not fraud. The full company was behind the Badger.  So what that Babiarz didn't like the water fountain? Trevor could have put in a popcorn machine. It's a business decision, a disagreement. Not fraud

 Mukasey: On building from the ground up, when you say that about a house, it doesn't mean you made the dishwasher. When the Mets say it, it doesn't mean the manager raised the players since they were babies.

Mukasey: On reservation, Kim Brady said Overall reservation is not an important driver of valuation. Trevor spoke with a good faith basis.  Freitheim told Brady and Russell about the Tesla Charts podcast - but neither of them said anything to Trevor, or the SEC

Mukasey: They never called out any misconduct because they never SAW any misconduct.  They claim they did an intervention. But there is no date, no documentation. Listen to this podcast [Intro is, "Hear ye, Hear ye, this is not investment advice"]

Mukasey: If the investor decides not to read the SEC filings, it's not on Nikola, it's not on Trevor - it's on the investor. Am I saying a CEO can say anything? No. But Trevor pointed people to the SEC filings. The US witnesses had invested for years

Mukasey: The investor who said it was important to him if the Badger was built from the ground up drives a Tesla - built on a Lotus. The other is a day trader, trading every four and a half minutes.

 Mukasey: Let's talk about Ferrell. He found that when Trevor spoke, the stock didn't move in any statistically meaningful way. Trevor's statements fell on deaf ears.

Mukasey: The US is saying Trevor shouldn't have spoken to regular investors because they are too stoooopid to read SEC filings. Asks if that is arrogant, when you deliberate. The truck on a hill? The Nikola 1 was irrelevant.

 Mukasey: It's not a crime to use special effects in a commercial. Nikola 1 was like a typewriter, or a rotary telephone. Paul Lackey, the Nikola outsider? Who made $600,000 and wants more from the SEC? He's a guy who set Nikola's house on fire, now wants a reward

 Mukasey: I say, Peter Hicks; you say, Want cash. He is a lawyer who owns resorts. He's a rich guy, not a victim. Hicks made a ton of money.  He's not a victim. Ladies and gentlemen, we chose you as juror. We know you will request the US to overcome the presumption

 Mukasey: We live in a world of phones and tweets. Should you go to jail for a tweet with the wrong grammar. They showed you 1.6% of his Tweets. So the rest were true. Trial for a podcast? This is not justice.

Mukasey: Trevor Milton loved Nikola like a child. He did not have fraud in his heart. It's like a parent saying, My kid is going to Harvard. We ask for four non guilty verdicts.

Judge Ramos: Thank you Mr. Mukasey.

Coverage will continue.

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


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