Following a Not Guilty Plea, a judge has ordered Nikola Founder not to contact investors.
On Thursday, at his arraignment hearing, a judge ordered Trevor Milton, the founder and former executive chair of the beleaguered Nikola Corp., not to contact the company’s investors. Milton pleaded not guilty to charges of misleading those investors about his company’s electric and hydrogen-powered truck startup.
After suspicions of fraud appeared, Milton, 39, resigned from Nikola in September. But he pushed back, saying he would defend himself if Nikola was accused of making false claims about the company’s vehicles.
During the epidemic, beginners and those in financial need were among the investors. Milton was charged with securities and wire fraud in an unsealed indictment in federal court in Manhattan.
After pleading not guilty, Milton was released on a $100 million bail, which was paid for by two Utah homes. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn ruled that Milton may not contact investors unless he had a separate relationship with them.
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One of Martin’s lawyers, Marc Mukasey, informed the judge that some financial information in the court record would need to be amended, including a claim that some Milton bank accounts held $50 million.
“A lot less than that as we understand it,” Mukasey replied.
Milton, dressed in a suit and purple tie, declined to answer questions as he walked out of the courthouse.
Justice was not served by the government’s action today, but it will be when Mr. Milton is exonerated, according to his lawyers, who released a statement through a spokeswoman.
The case was described as “a new low in the government’s efforts to criminalize lawful corporate action” in the statement. Every American executive should be appalled.”
“Trevor Milton is an entrepreneur with a long-term goal of reducing carbon emissions in the trucking industry to aid the environment. Mr. Milton was wrongly accused as a result of a flawed and inadequate investigation in which the government failed to question key witnesses and overlooked vital evidence,” the statement continued.
Milton “brazenly and repeatedly used social media, as well as appearances and interviews on television, podcasts, and in print, to make false and misleading claims about the status of Nikola’s trucks and technology” from November 2019 to September, according to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss.
The allegations were “where the rubber meets the road,” she said at a press conference.
Separate filings were made by the Securities and Exchange Commission. This is a condensed version of the information.