Shkreli jailed for Clinton threat
Bail revoked after Facebook bounty put on Clinton’s hair
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.
Martin Shkreli was convicted last month on three of eight counts of securities fraud.