It's already been rejected.
Disgraced Nikola founder and former CEO Trevor Milton is on a mission to clear his name. Milton's fall from grace could get worse once he goes on trial in April. But for now, he's busy preparing his defense. Facing fraud charges from the feds is no easy matter.
Per Bloomberg, Milton's lawyers are claiming federal prosecutors are refusing their request to gain access to Nikola's vehicles and equipment, which are vital to his defense. Milton asked a judge late last week for permission to inspect and photograph some prototypes and other related company property. That request was denied. "Inspecting these items, and demonstrating the functionality of the technology, go to the crux of his defense," Milton's lawyers said in the court filing. Specifically, Milton wants access to prototypes of the Badger EV truck and Nikola One semi-truck hauler.
Last month, EV truck maker Nikola and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced they'd agreed to a $125 million settlement. Nikola is paying the hefty fine to the federal government in order to resolve and conclude all investigations into the company. The money will be paid out in five installments over a two-year period.
The ordeal began back in September 2020 when short-seller firm Hindenburg Research revealed a damning report accusing Nikola and Milton of fraud. Only days before, Nikola and GM announced a major deal that would see the Badger reach production. GM would gain access to a number of Nikola's innovative technologies in return.
America's largest automaker quickly called off that deal following the report's release. Following his departure from the company, Milton was charged last July and pleaded not guilty. He's accused of misleading investors with false claims about the company and its products in the pursuit of boosting its stock value.
In December, he filed a request for the case to be dismissed, claiming previous (alleged) statements he made are now being considered criminal. Milton also attempted to argue that federal prosecutors failed to show how his statements influenced purchases of the Badger and Semi One, and Nikola stock. Milton faces an uphill legal battle and time is quickly running out to prepare for his springtime trial.
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