Nikola Corp. founder Trevor Milton asked a federal judge to throw out an indictment accusing him of misleading investors about the EV maker’s financial prospects.
Milton filed multiple motions to dismiss charges on Wednesday, saying he wasn’t given fair notice that the alleged statements he made could be considered criminal and that prosecutors haven’t shown how his comments influenced purchases or sales of Nikola stock, among other arguments.
“The government’s theory of criminal liability is novel and breathtaking in scope, threatening core rights protected by the Constitution,” according to the filings.
Instead of focusing on alleged misstatements in offering documents or financial statements as usual in securities fraud cases, Milton argues, the government calls out his “tweets, social media posts, podcasts, and television or print interviews -- many of which were made or conducted long before Nikola was a public company -- in an attempt to criminalize promotional speech about Nikola’s products.”
Milton pleaded not guilty in July and was freed on $100 million bail, among the stiffest terms exacted recently, along with Tom Barrack’s $250 million bond. A federal judge last month rejected Milton’s bid to throw out the case for lack of proper jurisdiction or to transfer it to Utah, where he lives, or Arizona, where Nikola is based. He has appealed the ruling.