Shkreli’s bail re­voked as he con­tin­ues to court con­tro­versy

Cape Times - - NEWS -

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

MARTIN SHKRELI

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