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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Private equity investor Brian Shevland is suing the CEO of the blank check company that it merging with former President Trump's social media platform, claiming a "brazen act of fraud."

Big picture: The lawsuit comes just a week after Digital World Acquisition Corp. (DWAC), led by Patrick Orlando, disclosed that it's under investigation by federal securities regulators. It also comes several months before Trump's company is slated to launch its first public products.

  • Shevland was an early director nominee of DWAC, but claims in his lawsuit that he was removed by Orlando without warning or notification — a move that denied him thousands of shares and the ability to buy more stock at a very low price.
  • For example, one remedy proposed by Shevland is for him to be able to buy shares at $0.003 a piece, compared to the SPAC IPO price of $10 and the current market price of $51.33.

The intrigue: The complaint suggests that conversations between Orlando and Trump began months before DWAC went public, which could violate federal securities law.

  • It also said that DWAC originally planned to pass on the Trump deal "due to opposition from board members who rejected an affiliation with former President Trump for personal reasons."
  • Shevland, the complaint says, supported the transaction.

Read the complaint:

Go deeper

Trump calls McConnell a "loser" before hanging up on NPR host

Photos: Saul Loeb, Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump abruptly cut short an interview with NPR on Tuesday after being pressed about his false, baseless claims of election fraud in 2020 and lambasting Republicans who have spoken out against them.

Why it matters: The interview once again highlights the extent to which Trump is willing to turn against members of his own party if they do not back his unsupported claims.

Trump to elevate election deniers at Arizona rally

Donald Trump. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump announced guest speakers today for his Saturday rally in Arizona, and most of them share a common trait: they led efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Why this matters: Trump, who remains the most powerful figure in the Republican Party, is making his false claims about the 2020 election the centerpiece of the GOP platform.

Updated 5 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.