Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli has bail revoked, heads to jail

FILE- In this Aug. 15, 2017, file photo, former pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli speaks during an interview by Maria Bartiromo during her "Mornings with Maria Bartiromo" program on the Fox Business Network, in New York. Shkreli's lawyer says his client's caustic online rants shouldn't be taken so seriously. The attorney for the convicted ex-biotech CEO argued in court papers filed Tuesday, Sept. 12, that Shkreli's recent offer to pay a $5,000 bounty for a lock of Hillary Clinton's hair falls under the category of "political satire or strained humor." (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Former pharmaceuticals company CEO Martin Shkreli had his bail revoked and was headed to jail Wednesday while awaiting sentencing for a securities fraud conviction.

A judge heard arguments about whether the provocative online antics of Shkreli, dubbed the Pharma Bro, were bad enough to put him behind bars and decided to have him taken into custody immediately.

A defense attorney had argued in court papers that Shkreli’s recent offer to pay a $5,000 bounty for securing a Hillary Clinton hair with a follicle while she’s on a book tour was merely a tasteless joke comparable to some of President Donald Trump’s derisive comments, not a threat worthy of putting him behind bars.

“Indeed, in the current political climate, dissent has unfortunately often taken the form of political satire, hyperbole, parody or sarcasm,” wrote the lawyer, Ben Brafman. “There is a difference, however, between comments that are intended to threaten or harass and comments — albeit offensive ones — that are intended as political satire or strained humor.”

The attorney was responding to government filings last week that argued Shkreli’s behavior was threatening enough to jail him while he awaits sentencing for his securities fraud conviction. Prosecutors said the posting prompted the Secret Service to use more resources because it ran the risk that many of Shkreli’s social media followers would think he was serious.

Shkreli, who is best known for hiking up the price of a life-saving drug and for trolling his critics on social media, was found guilty last month on charges, unrelated to the price-fixing scandal, that he cheated investors in two failed hedge funds he ran. The defense had argued that investors got their original investments back and even made hefty profits.

Shkreli has said he feels “exonerated” despite his conviction and thinks there’s a “50-50 chance” he won’t face any punishment. He chatted with fans on his YouTube channel and sparred with a reporter after last month’s verdict.

“In sum and substance,” he said, “I feel exonerated.”

A judge heard arguments about whether the provocative online antics of Shkreli, dubbed the Pharma Bro, were bad enough to put him behind bars and decided to have him taken into custody immediately.

A defense attorney had argued in court papers that Shkreli’s recent offer to pay a $5,000 bounty for securing a Hillary Clinton hair with a follicle while she’s on a book tour was merely a tasteless joke comparable to some of President Donald Trump’s derisive comments, not a threat worthy of putting him behind bars.

“Indeed, in the current political climate, dissent has unfortunately often taken the form of political satire, hyperbole, parody or sarcasm,” wrote the lawyer, Ben Brafman. “There is a difference, however, between comments that are intended to threaten or harass and comments — albeit offensive ones — that are intended as political satire or strained humor.”

The attorney was responding to government filings last week that argued Shkreli’s behavior was threatening enough to jail him while he awaits sentencing for his securities fraud conviction. Prosecutors said the posting prompted the Secret Service to use more resources because it ran the risk that many of Shkreli’s social media followers would think he was serious.

Shkreli, who is best known for hiking up the price of a life-saving drug and for trolling his critics on social media, was found guilty last month on charges, unrelated to the price-fixing scandal, that he cheated investors in two failed hedge funds he ran. The defense had argued that investors got their original investments back and even made hefty profits.

Shkreli has said he feels “exonerated” despite his conviction and thinks there’s a “50-50 chance” he won’t face any punishment. He chatted with fans on his YouTube channel and sparred with a reporter after last month’s verdict.

“In sum and substance,” he said, “I feel exonerated.”

NBC4i.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s