February 22, 2018

'Pharma Bro' defies advice to keep quiet before fraud trial

28 June 2017, 05:19 | Felicia Parsons

'Pharma Bro' defies advice to keep quiet before fraud trial

Martin Shkreli defies advice to keep quiet before his fraud trial

Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, who is presiding over the trial of pharma entrepreneur and hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli in NY, will be polling about 140 prospective jurors in the case today, after Monday's jury selection came up empty.

During jury questioning Monday, several potential jurors said they couldn't ignore Martin Shkreli's reputation for raising the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent.

Several potential jurors on Monday blamed Shkreli broadly for the problems of the pharmaceutical industry. Shkreli raised the drug's price to $750 a tablet, from $13.50, overnight in 2015 while running Turing Pharmaceuticals. "They're struggling to pay" for their daily medical routine.

"Mr. Shkreli, God bless him, has created part of the problem", Brafman said.

But today, jury selection begins in federal court as 34-year-old Shkreli goes on trial for something else entirely: securities fraud charges. They didn't hold their tongues, calling Shkreli a "snake", the "most hated man in America" and "the face of corporate greed".

Katherine Bolger, a lawyer representing a group of media outlets, argued via telephone against barring the pool reporter from listening to jurors being questioned out of the earshot of the gallery.

Shkreli is on trial at the US District Court in Brooklyn, N.Y., charged with eight counts of securities and wire fraud. Judge Kiyo Matsumoto has asked for another pool of 60 to 100 potential jurors to be brought to the courtroom Tuesday.

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Other potential jurors had bad reactions to Mr. Shkreli himself.

Benjamin Brafman, who is representing Shkreli, told FiercePharma in an email that he objected to the private sidebars because he was concerned that the resulting press reports would prejudice the case going forward.

A male prospective juror said, "I have total disdain for the man."

He said Shkreli's lawyers had objected to a reporter's presence at the sidebar for that reason, among others.

Matsumoto seemed delighted when she finally came across a woman in her 20s who said she hadn't heard of Shkreli or his case.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed to strike more than a dozen jurors for cause based on their opinions of Mr. Shkreli.

Nearly 180 possible jurors were brought in for questioning on Monday. As a result, jury selection is set to be far more hard than usual.

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