Nikola Founder Pleads Not Guilty, Freed on $100 Million Bail
(Bloomberg) -- Nikola Corp. founder and former chairman Trevor Milton was freed by a judge on $100 million bond, after pleading not guilty to charges that he misled investors about the status of the electric-vehicle maker.
The bail was secured by two properties that Milton owns in Utah, one of which is worth $36 million and the other $4 million, lawyers said at the hearing Thursday in Manhattan federal court. Under terms of his release, which will happen today, he is limited in his movements and barred from contacting investors, other than ones with whom he has a personal relationship.
Milton, 39, surrendered to prosecutors at 8 a.m. Thursday. He will live in Utah until his trial.
“Trevor Milton is innocent,” his lawyers said in a statement. “This is a new low in the government’s efforts to criminalize lawful business conduct. Every executive in America should be horrified.”
Milton’s 9-figure bail comes less than a week after Tom Barrack was freed on $250 million bail by a California judge, one of the largest for a U.S. criminal case since Robert Durst paid $3 billion in 2003. Barrack is awaiting his trial date on charges of illegally lobbying the U.S. government on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.
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