Jury deliberations to start Monday in Shkreli fraud case
‘Pharmacy Bro’ calls trial ‘silly witch hunt’
NEW YORK Jurors are set to begin weighing Martin Shkreli’s fate in the fraud trial of the socalled “Pharmacy Bro” on Monday after a prosecutor ended the case by saying the businessman mistakenly calculated he was “above the law.”
The panel of seven women and five men opted to postpone deliberations through the weekend in a decision Friday in Brooklyn federal court after U.S. District Court Judge Kiyo Matsumoto gave them final legal instructions.
Ending evidence presentation and legal arguments in the four-week proceeding, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis told jurors the defense fed them a “fairy tale” portrait of Shkreli as a hyper-intelligent health care industry entrepreneur who never knowingly deceived investors in his companies.
In response, Kasulis repeated Shkreli’s blunt email response when an attorney warned that acquiring shares in one of the companies at belowmarket prices could raise legal problems: “f that.”
“It’s time, time for Martin Shkreli to be held responsible for his choices. His choices to lie, deceive and steal,” Kasulis said. “The last four weeks have exposed Martin Shkreli for who he really is — a con man who stole millions of dollars.”
The government had the final word after defense attorney Benjamin Brafman ended his closing arguments by reminding jurors that all of Shkreli’s investors ultimately made money, thanks to the 34-year-old New Yorker’s efforts. “Who lost anything? Nobody,” Brafman said,
Criticizing the prosecution case as a mixture of theories and legal arguments, he said: “They cannot throw stuff against the wall and hope some of it sticks. It’s really that simple.”
Shkreli sat at rapt attention for much of Brafman’s argument. He periodically looked down toward the defense table and fidgeted with his hair as Kasulis spoke.
The frequent social media presence opted not to testify in his own defense, avoiding being questioned by prosecutors. However, he vented against the Department of Justice in a Facebook posting Thursday that referred to President Trump and his campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”
“My case is a silly witch hunt perpetrated by self-serving prosecutors. Thankfully my amazing attorney sent them back to junior varsity where they belong,” Shkreli wrote. “Drain the swamp. Drain the sewer that is the DOJ. MAGA.”
In a separate Facebook Live appearance Thursday, Shkreli told fans: “Jury starts tomorrow. I give them about 20 minutes before they free the boy.”
Martin Shkreli faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.