Prosecutors ask judge to gag ex-pharmaceuticals CEO Shkreli

FILE- In this June 26, 2017, file photo, former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli arrives to federal court in New York. Prosecutors filed a motion in U.S. District Court on Monday, July 3, asking that Shkreli and attorneys for all parties refrain from making statements outside court. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors want a judge to make “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli stop talking and filed a motion on Monday asking that he and all attorneys in his criminal case be ordered to refrain from making any statements outside court.

Shkreli, a former pharmaceutical company CEO most notorious for raising the price of a lifesaving drug by 5,000 percent while at another company, is on trial for charges of federal securities fraud.

In the motion, federal prosecutors told U.S. District Court Judge Kiyo Matsumoto that Shkreli has interacted with the media since the jury for his trial was picked, in the courthouse, outside and on digital media. They said his statements risk tainting the jury.

“Shkreli appears determined to ignore the instructions of defense counsel and to wage his own public relations campaign against the witnesses and the government during the trial,” prosecutors said.

Defense attorney Benjamin Brafman objected to a gag order and said “certain representatives of the press have gone out of their way to try to ‘bait'” Shkreli into making public statements. He said his client is “under enormous pressure that is compounded by his clearly frail emotional state.”

Prosecutors said another alternative could be for the judge to semi-sequester the jury.

Shkreli became notorious in 2015 when a drug company he founded, Turing Pharmaceuticals, spent $55 million for a lifesaving medicine called Daraprim and then increased the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill.

He was arrested later that year on unrelated charges, centering around a pair of failed hedge funds. He has pleaded not guilty.

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