'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli Is Going on Trial

His lawyers claim he's penniless
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2017 4:51 AM CDT
'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli Is Going on Trial
Former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli arrives at Brooklyn federal court with members of his legal team last week.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Martin Shkreli's federal trial on securities fraud charges begins this week—and since the former pharmaceutical boss has been dubbed "the most hated man in America," there won't be any shortage of cheerleaders for the prosecution. Shkreli, 34, is accused of illegally taking stock from Retrophin, a biotech company he founded, and using it to pay off investors in a hedge fund he managed after the fund tanked. He is also accused of defrauding those investors. Jury selection begins Monday morning in the case, which isn't directly connected to what Shkreli is best known for: hiking the price of a lifesaving drug by 5,000%. Some background:

  • The trial. The trial is expected to last four to six weeks, with dozens of witnesses either supporting or questioning the indictment of Shkreli, reports USA Today, which takes a detailed look at the charges.

  • "Pharma bro." The New York Times takes a look at the behavior that made Shkreli so hated—and at how he got the nickname "Pharma bro."
  • Polarizing. In an interview with the Financial Times about the case, Shkreli, who has pleaded not guilty, compares himself to OJ Simpson, saying "the more polarizing and popular a case is, the more likely an acquittal." He adds that things "worked out great" for the investors he is accused of scamming.
  • Penniless. In a pretrial hearing, Shkreli's attorney claimed that the former CEO is broke and "doesn't have any cash," NBC News reports. US District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto rejected the request to have bail reduced from $5 million to $2 million. Shkreli's lawyer argued that a Wu-Tang Clan album Shkreli bought for $2 million is in reality "probably worthless." He said offers Shkreli had recently made, including $100,000 for information leading to the killer of DNC staffer Seth Rich, were just "preposterous promises" on social media.
  • Ignoring attorneys' advice. The AP reports that since his arrest in late 2015, Shkreli has gleefully ignored his attorneys' advice to keep a low profile and has been speaking his mind on many subjects on social media. He is active on Facebook and YouTube but not on Twitter: His account was shut down permanently after he harassed a Teen Vogue writer.
(A Shkreli musical opened in New York last month.)

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