Shkreli’s bail revoked as he continues to court controversy
A FEDERAL judge has revoked the $5 million bail of Martin Shkreli, the infamous former hedge fund manager convicted of defrauding investors, after prosecutors complained his out-of-court antics posed a danger to the community.
While awaiting sentencing, Shkreli has harassed women online, prosecutors argued, and even offered his Facebook followers $5 000 to grab a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair during her book tour. Shkreli, who faces up to 20 years in prison, apologised saying he did not expect anyone to take him seriously.
“He should have apologised to the government, the Secret Service and Hillary Clinton,” said US District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, in revoking his bail. “This is a solicitation of assault.”
Shkreli was taken into custody immediately after the hour-long hearing. He will remain jailed until his sentencing hearing, later this year.
Shkreli’s attorneys argued that his comments, while distasteful, did not make him dangerous.
“It never occurred to me that my awkward attempt at humour or satire would cause Mrs Clinton or the Secret Service any distress,” Shkreli said in an earlier letter to the judge.
Shkreli’s attorney called his client’s conduct “stupid” but begged the judge to give him another chance.
“He has a way of courting controversy” that has continued since he was convicted, Matsumoto said.
On Facebook, Shkreli has struck a more defiant note. “Lol Hillary Clinton’s presumptive agents are hard at work. It was just a prank, bro! But still, lock HER up. Spend your resources investigating her, not me!!,” he said in a post the same day prosecutors filed their motion to have his bail revoked.
Shkreli’s lawyers, meanwhile, compared his online comments with the political humour of Kathy Griffin, who held up a photograph of a faux bloody head of President Donald Trump and even Trump himself.
During the campaign, Trump used “political hyperbole”, Shkreli’s attorneys said, when he said that Clinton, his Democratic opponent, would abolish the Second Amendment if elected.
“In the current political climate, dissent has unfortunately often taken the form of political satire, hyperbole, parody, or sarcasm,” Shkreli’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said in a letter to the court.
Shkreli, 34, is best known for raising the price of an Aids drug by 5 000% but was convicted by a Brooklyn jury of defrauding the investors in his hedge funds. Shkreli lied to obtain investors’ money then didn’t tell them when he made a bad stock bet that led to massive losses, prosecutors argued.
Instead, they said, he raised more money to pay off other investors or took money and stock from a pharmaceutical company, Retrophin, he was running. –The Washington Post