Shkreli jailed for Clin­ton threat

Bail re­voked af­ter Face­book bounty put on Clin­ton’s hair

USA TODAY US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Me­lanie Ever­s­ley @melanieev­er­s­ley USA TO­DAY

A fed­eral judge re­voked Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli’s bail Wed­nes­day, or­der­ing him jailed for a threat to for­mer sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton.

U.S. Dis­trict Court Judge Kiyo Mat­sumoto said Shkreli’s re­cent so­cial me­dia of­fer of $5,000 to any­one who would “grab” some of Clin­ton’s hair for him dur­ing her cur­rent book tour rep­re­sented “a solic­i­ta­tion of an as­sault in ex­change for money that is not pro­tected by the First Amend­ment.”

“The fact that he con­tin­ues to re­main un­aware of the ... in­ap­pro­pri­ate­ness of his ac­tions or words demon­strates to me that he may be cre­at­ing an on­go­ing risk to the com­mu­nity,” Mat­sumoto said.

Shkreli said noth­ing as fed­eral mar­shals took him into cus­tody and led him out of the judge’s sixth-floor court­room through a side door, leav­ing be­hind a brief­case he’d brought to the hear­ing. He was ex­pected to be taken to the Met­ro­pol­i­tan De­ten­tion Cen­ter in Brook­lyn.

In or­der­ing the out­spo­ken and of­ten provoca­tive de­fen­dant jailed, the judge brushed aside an apol­ogy he had of­fered in a le­gal brief filed Tues­day by at­tor­ney Ben­jamin Braf­man. Mat­sumoto sim­i­larly dis­missed de­fense ar­gu­ments dur­ing a Wed­nes­day night hear­ing.

“He says things that are stupid, and I think stupid doesn’t make you vi­o­lent.” ar­gued Braf­man, who urged the judge to “give him an­other chance.”

How­ever, pros­e­cu­tors said the in­ci­dent re­quired U.S. Se­cret Ser­vice agents to as­sess the threat as part of their pro­tec­tion of Clin­ton. They ar­gued in a court mo­tion that there was “sig­nif­i­cant risk” that “one of his many so­cial me­dia fol­low­ers or oth­ers who learn of his of­fers through the me­dia will take his state­ments se­ri­ously ... and act on them.”

As­sis­tant U.S. At­tor­ney Prose­cu­tor Jacquelyn Ka­sulis told the judge it was in­con­ceiv­able that Shkreli did not know the power of his words.

“He doesn’t get it ... and he ab­so­lutely, we be­lieve, knew what he was do­ing,” she ar­gued.

A year ear­lier, Shkreli went to the ex­te­rior of the Man­hat­tan build­ing where Clin­ton’s daugh­ter, Chelsea, lives with her fam­ily and then heck­led Hil­lary Clin­ton for two hours, Ka­sulis said.

The prose­cu­tor also cited a pre­vi­ous in­ci­dent in which free­lance jour­nal­ist Lauren Duca ac­cused Shkreli of ha­rass­ment af­ter she wrote an opin­ion es­say that crit­i­cized Pres­i­dent Trump. Twit­ter sus­pended his ac­count af­ter that episode.

Shkreli, dressed in a laven­der-col­ored shirt, ap­peared emo­tion­less as Mat­sumoto re­voked the $5,000 bail he had pre­vi­ously posted dur­ing his trial on un­re­lated se­cu­ri­ties fraud and con­spir­acy charges for al­legedly rip­ping off in­vestors in two hedge funds and tak­ing stock and money from a phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany.

The 34-year-old New Yorker and for­mer phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany CEO was con­victed on three crim­i­nal counts in the case last month. But Mat­sumoto had al­lowed him to re­main free pend­ing sen­tenc­ing. The judge set a Jan. 16 sen­tenc­ing date dur­ing the Wed­nes­day hear­ing.

GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO

Martin Shkreli was con­victed last month on three of eight counts of se­cu­ri­ties fraud.

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