Image c/o Miljøstiftelsen ZERO via Wikimedia / Canva
Trevor Milton, the 41-year-old CEO of Nikola – a manufacturer of commercial electric vehicles which went public in 2020 – has been sentenced to four years in prison for making false claims about his company’s products. He’s also subject to a $1 million fine.
A 2020 report by Hindenburg Research revealed that the Nikola One truck was made to appear functional by rolling it down a hill in a promo video. This report was followed by an SEC investigation and a rapid fall in the company’s stock price.
Per a transcript published by Inner City Press, Milton pulled out a box of tissues, wept and told the judge “there was ethnic cleansing against my ancestors.”
“My people were driven into Oklahoma,” he continued. “The trauma is visible on reservations. The generational trauma ended with my mother, she refused to pass it down to her children. From the time I was young I had an unusually tender heart.”
Then he started talking about his childhood (making it clear that he wasn’t entitled), got into his mother’s bout with cancer, and spoke about God and repentance, all while denying any wrongdoing.
He also compared himself to Rubin Carter, a black boxer wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for murder, along with the defendants of the Central Park Five case, suggesting racial bias played a role in his conviction.