Last month, Utah billionaire Trevor Milton was convicted in New York of three counts of fraud for lying to investors about his electric truck company, Nikola Motors. He now faces up to 20 years in prison.
Long before he was charged with fraud, three wives and two of Milton’s former friends accused him of sexual misconduct.
The allegations began with a man named Jonny Robb from Cottonwood Heights.
Robb and Milton considered each other friends for years. The two traveled together as part of the same social circle. Other members of the group said that while Robb didn’t come from money, he had a rich social life and made friends easily because of his fun-loving personality.
According to Robb, as the two began to spend more time together, he began to learn how Milton treated women. As Milton’s business grew, the two spent less time together.
Milton, who is originally from Layton, set a real estate record in 2019 by buying the most expensive house in Utah.
As their friendship grew more distant, Robb said the things he knew about Milton’s behavior nagged at him.
“[Jonny]was going through a mental health crisis so we tried to help him get help,” said his mother, Julie Robb. “He had his challenges, but friendships were important to him… At one point he enjoyed working for Trevor and selling aspects of his business, and then I never heard from it again. That’s about as much as I knew about Trevor.”
In 2020, Robb threatened to release screenshots of inappropriate messages Milton sent to women. He accused Milton of sexual assault and trying to pay women for sex while Milton looked on.
The two confronted each other through messages on Instagram. Eventually, Milton reported Robb to the police, accusing his former boyfriend of extortion.
FOX 13 News obtained a series of audio recordings from the Utah Attorney General’s office showing special agents interviewing both Robb and Milton.
“He wanted half a million dollars,” Milton said. “I never offered these girls to meet me. Not once. I never offered them money to meet me…I have no choice but to just agree to whatever he asks…In this world you’re guilty no matter what when it comes to women.”
“Just so we’re on the same page, for this to work, you have to be absolutely open,” a special agent said. “About your relationships, about anything he might have about you. We need to know, okay?”
“I definitely opened up to him about a lot of things. Nothing I ever feared would come back and be something criminal,” Milton said. “The worst thing I ever did in my life was tell these girls to date other guys.”
Milton originally reported Robb to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. The Utah Attorney’s Office took over the case. Neither agency explained why.
Robb told investigators Milton’s behavior was worse than described. He argued the money was Milton’s idea, a deal to stop him from publishing more damaging information about Milton’s behavior towards women.
Robb called the $500,000 a “settlement,” not extortion.
“Dude, I’ve been clinging to every single dirty criminal secret involving women that (he) has ever done, dude,” Robb said. “(He’s got) thousands of skeletons in (his) closet, and those skeletons want justice… I’ll bring it all out, dude.” The truth. All of it. Every bit of it.”
“How are we supposed to believe that’s true?” asked the special agent.
“You have my phone? Go grab my cell phone. We pull everything up,” Robb said. “I’ve got a whole bank full of this stuff, and he knows it… wait til you read what he did to women, bro. It is justice.”
Special agents declined Robb’s invitation to review the evidence on his cell phone.
“Just hold on. Just stick to it. Let it all pass,” they said. “When this is all over, do with it what the hell you want.”
Robb spent the next 20 days in prison.
The day after his release, Robb died by suicide. He was 30 years old.
Julie Robb, his mother, regularly visits his gravesite.
“It came like a storm,” she said. “He would say his biggest idol was his father … He just made everything big, but he loved big.”
Two months later, public records from the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office show that Milton donated $15,000 to Attorney General Sean Reyes’ re-election campaign.
It was the first time Milton had donated to Reyes. The post left Robb’s friends and family questioning why the Utah prosecutor’s office took over the case.
When FOX asked 13 News about the allegations of sexual assault, the Utah prosecutor’s office declined an on-camera interview but responded in writing.
“No one in the AG office, including Sean, was aware of any sexual assault allegations against Trevor Milton prior to investigating this case,” Richard Piatt, a spokesman for the agency, wrote via email. “Our interest was in the blackmail case, period.”
“It makes us want to know if there was more to this story than what was provided to us?” asked Jay Robb.
FOX 13 News first told the Utah Attorney’s Office on September 24, 2020 that we had questions about the case.
The next day, September 25, 2020, Reyes’ campaign refunded the $15,000 donation.
“Given the current allegations, and while these are only allegations at this time, we felt it best to return recent donations,” wrote Alan Crooks, a general adviser to the Reyes campaign.
Since Robb’s death, three women have accused Milton of sexual assault.
“It feels really vulnerable to talk about it,” said Aubrey Smith, Milton’s cousin. “He’s like, ‘Well, yeah, I’m in a class. It’s a massage class and everyone takes off their shirt during the massage. That’s what masseuses want their clients to do.” I was super, super naive.”
Smith said she was 15 years old.
Milton was 17.
“And then he says, ‘Yeah, in my class the girls always take their bras off because the straps get in the way,’ and I froze,” Smith recalled. “As he said it, he unzipped my bra and took it off … and he fondled me, and eventually there was a knock on the door.”
The statute of limitations on Smith’s case has expired, but investigators from the Unified Police Department have nevertheless documented their findings in a police report.
Another woman – Allison – was also 15 when she worked for Milton in St. George.
She asked FOX 13 News not to publish her face or full name.
Allison said she was “fingered” by Milton in the theater room after work.
“I never worked another day for him and went home embarrassed,” Allison said, crying. “He was my boss. He was my ride. I was much smaller than him. I just wanted to go home.
Allison told police she never spoke to anyone about the incident until a journalist called her and asked for comment on a possible story about Milton.
“[Milton]knew he had done it,” she said. “He was bragging to other people, and that’s how my story came out.”
Tyler Winona, another former friend of Milton’s, said he and Milton discussed the incident with Allison while on a road trip together.
“He was trying to glamorize the situation, make it sound like it was hot,” Winona said.
Winona now says he feels very similar to his experience as Robb. He was interviewed by St George PD but Milton was never charged.
“I wish prosecutors and police would take these things a little more seriously,” Winona said.
Another St. George woman said she was sexually assaulted by Milton on a modeling trip.
Although the statute of limitations had also expired in her case, she also documented her case with St. George PD and provided them with copies of messages she had exchanged with Milton.
When the allegations came in, Milton resigned as chairman of Nikola Motors. It was unclear whether he resigned because of the fraud case or allegations of sexual assault.
“More needs to be done to hold Trevor accountable,” Smith said.
Smith said she never heard of Robb until she shared her story publicly. She still wants to know why the Utah Attorney’s Office is treating Milton as a victim rather than a suspect.
“You have a responsibility to look into this carefully and give weight to what Jonny said,” Smith said. “I respect him deeply and I don’t know him, but … it’s heartbreaking for me because I think he was really brave.”
Prior to his arrest, FOX 13 News was in contact with Milton’s public relations team for several months.
At the time, Milton said simply, “I intend to defend myself against false allegations made against me by outside critics.”
He has not responded to a follow-up request for comment as of the publication of this story.