Trial begins for ‘Pharma Bro’ Shkreli

Trial begins for ‘Pharma Bro’ Shkreli

Martin Shkreli arrives at Brooklyn Federal Court in New York, Jun. 26, 2017.

The second day of jury selection in the securities fraud trial ended without any jurors being seated.

Martin Shkreli, an extremely lifelike Chucky doll who managed to parlay a history of price-gouging AIDS patients, harassing journalists, and contemplating the destruction of priceless works of art into a form of middling Internet notoriety, goes on trial in Brooklyn this week for what is at once his most allegedly criminal and also, somehow, his least offensive act: securities fraud.

During questioning, one of them described Shkreli as “the most hated man in America“, while another called him “the face of corporate greed”. He resigned from Turing after his arrest in 2015.

At the time of his arrest in December 2015, Shkreli had already earned some degree of infamy for reasons unrelated to the fraud case, including his notorious decision to raise the price of life-saving drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill, or 5,000 percent.

“I’m trying to erase that from my head”, she said.

Essentially, Shkreli is accused of running a Ponzi scheme, using money from new investors in the drugs company he headed, Retrophin, to pay off mounting debts from his failed hedge fund, MSMB Capital.

Some other potential jurors who didn’t know of Shkreli’s infamy said that simply looking at his face gave them a bad feeling.

Shkreli himself may have complicated the jury selection.

His defense team has argued no harm, no foul. They said he paid the investors back with money stolen from Retrophin, which he founded in 2011. “Whatever else he did wrong, he ultimately made them whole”.

At a hearing last Monday, prosecutors cited public boasts about his wealth in refusing to reduce Shkreli’s bail from $5 million to $2 million U.S., as he had requested, citing the need to pay taxes and legal bills.

Also cited were his offers to pay a $100,000 bounty for finding the killer of a Democratic National Committee staffer and $40,000 in tuition for a Princeton student who solved a math problem he posed during a guest lecture at the school earlier this year.

Brafman told CNNMoney that he “would prefer that Mr. Shkreli not live stream during trial” but said his client “did not intentionally violate the law [and] is confident he will be acquitted‎”.

“I hope to see you and your four children homeless and will do whatever I can to assure this, ” Shkreli wrote the employees wife, according to court filings.