A new class action lawsuit filed by an investor in Trumpworld’s favorite coin “Let’s Go Brandon” claims that some of the token’s key players orchestrated a pump-and-dump scheme.
The news marks the latest drama that has plagued the coin since its inception last year and has lingered since the cryptocurrency’s relaunch in February. A number of former President Donald Trump’s most loyal fans have bought into the crypto hype, only to see the value of their investments plummet.
Lawyers for the plaintiff, an investor in the coin named Eric De Ford, claimed that the token’s executives and insiders “made false or misleading statements” and “disguised their control over the [c]business. Ultimately, the 79-page lawsuit filed in Florida alleges that these insiders “cynically marketed the LGB tokens to investors so they could sell their share…for a profit,” even as the sale sent a precipitous drop. the value of the coin to other crypto holders.
The defendants included Trumpy backer James Koutoulas, NASCAR and conservative media personalities Candace Owens and David Harris Jr., among others.
Koutoulas hit back at the allegations in text messages to The Daily Beast. “Frankly, Complainant’s behavior is disturbing, almost like a stalker,” he wrote.
Koutoulas sent a document showing apparent email exchanges between De Ford and others affiliated with the coin in February, in which De Ford said he was “inspired by what this token can do for our nation” and offered to help market the piece for free. . Obviously, his perspective on running the play quickly changed.
“One moment he’s praising our vision and offering to promote the play, now all of a sudden he’s filed a weird conspiracy complaint,” Koutoulas said.
In a statement, an attorney representing the plaintiff, Aaron Zigler, sought to refute Koutoulas’ version of events. “We are disappointed to learn that Mr. Koutoulas would resort to such a misleading characterization of the facts in this case in what appears to be a desperate attempt to continue to support the value of the token and scare off other defrauded investors from seeking their day in court,” he wrote.
“The fact that a litigant and attorney like Mr. Koutoulas faces potential libel suits and bar discipline in response to his appointment in a well-researched and well-founded federal lawsuit is consistent with the same poor judgment alleged in the complaint,” he added. .
Some of Trumpland’s most vocal influencers backed the piece and were later named in the class action lawsuit, including Owens and Harris. Donald Trump Jr., who peddled the piece publicly, however, was not named.
“This #ad has one purpose and that is to let you know that free speech is about to make a big comeback. Stay tuned @letsgo,” Trump. Jr. wrote in an April 7 tweet that garnered more than 30,000 likes.
A source close to Trump Jr. with direct knowledge told The Daily Beast that Trump Jr. had no deal with the Let’s Go Brandon play.
Owens presented the lawsuit as a frivolous record that “borders on hilarity.”
“To begin with, I didn’t get paid a single penny” to promote “the LGB play,” she told The Daily Beast. “Beyond that, I myself lost money on the part, which unequivocally distances me from any idea of an internal ‘pump and dump’ system.”
Harris did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.
The original Let’s Go Brandon piece was inspired by a TV incident at a NASCAR race last year. After driver Brandon Brown won the event, the crowd chanted loudly “F*ck Joe Biden”, which an NBC reporter mistakenly relayed as “Let’s Go Brandon”. The slogan quickly became a pro-Trump rallying cry and a critique of what his fans perceived as media bias.
For a time, it looked like the cryptocurrency would become an official sponsor of Brown’s NASCAR team, but the deal was eventually called off. This caused the price of the token to plummet, and the class action claims insiders made matters worse by selling their shares. (The lawsuit further alleges that NASCAR has not moved far enough away from the crypto token; the company did not respond to a request for comment at press time.)
By February, the coin’s market value had fallen more than 99% from its peak, leading a number of its key players to come up with a rebranding and relaunch plan.
The aggressive marketing strategy hasn’t slowed down. Last month, when former President Trump appeared on Harris’ podcast, he received 500 billion of the new Let’s Go tokens from Koutoulas. The value of these coins then amounted to a measly $45,000; prices have remained roughly stable over the past 30 days.
“It suits me well !” Trump responded. “I don’t know exactly what that means, but it sounds good to me.” It is not known if the former president finally accepted the tokens.