Mar­tin Shkreli headed to jail af­ter bail re­voked over Hil­lary Clin­ton post

The Guardian Australia - - World News -

Mar­tin Shkreli, the for­mer phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals com­pany CEO who was once known as “the most hated man in Amer­ica”, has had his bail re­voked af­ter provoca­tive on­line an­tics and is go­ing to jail in New York while he awaits sen­tenc­ing for se­cu­ri­ties fraud.

A judge at a Wed­nes­day hear­ing sided with a govern­ment de­mand to jail Shkreli, the so-called pharma bro, say­ing that Shkreli’s of­fer to pay a $5,000 bounty for a Hil­lary Clin­ton hair with the fol­li­cle was “so­lic­i­ta­tion of an as­sault”.

The judge said that was not pro­tected by the first amend­ment and there was “a risk some­one may take” Shkreli up on his of­fer.

On Wed­nes­day morn­ing, Shkreli wrote to the court apol­o­giz­ing for his be­hav­ior, say­ing: “I am not a vi­o­lent per­son.”

But for the judge, it was too lit­tle, too late.

“He doesn’t have to apol­o­gize to me,” she said. “He should apol­o­gize to the govern­ment, the Se­cret Ser­vice and Hil­lary Clin­ton.” Shkreli watched in si­lence as the hear­ing un­folded and some­times put his head down and ap­peared to scrib­ble notes. Af­ter the judge’s rul­ing, he re­mained ex­pres­sion­less as deputy US mar­shals led him out a side door of the court­room with­out hand­cuff­ing him.

The govern­ment sought to get Shkreli locked up as a dan­ger to the com­mu­nity amid the fall­out from his so­cial me­dia post, which read: “The Clin­ton Foun­da­tion is will­ing to KILL to pro­tect its se­crets. So on HRC’s book tour, try to grab a hair from her. I must con­firm the se­quences I have. Will pay $5,000 per hair ob­tained from Hil­lary Clin­ton.”

A de­fense at­tor­ney had ar­gued in court pa­pers that Shkreli’s re­cent of­fer was merely a taste­less joke com­pa­ra­ble to some of 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 de­fense 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.”

Shkreli faces up to 20 years in prison at sen­tenc­ing, set for 16 Jan­uary.

Best known for hik­ing up the price of a life-sav­ing drug and for trolling his crit­ics on so­cial me­dia, he was found guilty last month on charges, un­re­lated to the pric­ing 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 is 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.”

Pho­to­graph: Carlo Al­le­gri/Reuters

Mar­tin Shkreli ex­its court af­ter be­ing con­victed of se­cu­ri­ties fraud.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.