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Martin Shkreli’s lawyer bizarrely blames ‘nervous energy’ for his client’s bratty smirkfest on Capitol Hill

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Criminal defense attorney Benjamin Brafman’s job is to defend former Turing CEO Martin Shkreli, who may be one of the most disliked people in the country at the moment. Despite the likely difficulty of his endeavor, Brafman did his best on Tuesday to explain away the mocking facial expressions Shkreli made while being questioned by Congress last week.

Shkreli accomplished the rare feat of drawing anger equally from both Republicans and Democrats while the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform questioned him about his infamous decision to increase the price of a drug used for AIDS and cancer patients by 5,000 percent. He remained silent while invoking the Fifth Amendment — though lawmakers pointed out the Fifth protects against self-incrimination and Shkreli is not facing any charges relating to the drug price hike.

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Shrkeli was arrested last month on federal securities fraud charges.

In an articled he penned for the New York Law Journal, Brafman blamed Shkreli’s smirking performance on “nervous energy.”

“Finally, I want to respond to those who believe that Shkreli appeared disrespectful to Congress for smiling on occasion or for looking away when his integrity and character were being criticized,” Brafman wrote. “As for the occasional awkward smile, they were, I submit, the result of nervous energy and the difficulty inherent in being forced to remain silent on the advice of counsel.”

After the hearing Shkreli tweeted what he thought of the elected representatives.

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“Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government,” he wrote.

Brafman called that comment “unfortunate” but “understandable.”

“It was even difficult for this seasoned veteran to sit quietly and not shout out comments that would have put at least some members of the committee in their place, given the lack of respect they extended to Shkreli and also exposed their lack of knowledge,” he wrote. “Shkreli is not, however, a seasoned veteran with 40 years of experience biting his tongue in openly hostile environments. He is a 32-year-old scientist who has never faced hostile questioning by powerful people intent on humiliation with dozens of live camera feeds 48 inches from his face.”

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Defending notorious high-profile names is nothing new to Brafman, who in the past has represented Sean (Diddy) Combs, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Mafia bosses, according to the New York Daily News.

Watch some of Shkreli’s testimony, as posted by CNBC, here:

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Trump-voting evangelist drops the ‘blasphemy’ hammer on president for deifying himself

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In a column for the Washington Post, an evangelical leader who admits he voted for Donald Trump in 2016  is very displeased that the president anointed himself the "chosen one" when speaking with the press on Wednesday.

According to Jay Lowder who heads up the Harvest Ministries in Wichita Falls, Texas, the president stepped over a line with his boast -- calling it "disturbing."

"Since President Trump’s election, many in the evangelical community have lauded him, grateful for his work to protect and propel some of the Christian values we hold so dear," before pointing out that a comparison to Jesus by man who "claims to be a Christian" is nothing less than " shocking, blasphemous and sacrilegious."

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Couple who ran demon-obsessed gay ‘conversion therapy’ camp indicted on human trafficking charges

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An Alabama couple who operated a controversial gay "conversion therapy" camp has been indicted on human trafficking charges in connection with a new religious facility they set up in Texas.

A grand jury indicted 49-year-old Gary Wiggins and 34-year-old Meghann Wiggins after investigators found they had forced children to work at their Joshua Home for troubled boys, reported KXAN-TV.

Burnet County officials raided the 10-acre property near Bertram in July 2018, where they removed eight boys between 10 and 17 years old as part of an investigation into possible abuse, neglect, labor violations, fraud, licensing violations and human trafficking.

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Trump officials to face congressional grilling over president’s link to white nationalist terrorism

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Next week, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are poised to question members of the Trump administration about the dangerous rise in white nationalist violence.

Just last weekend, a man slaughtered dozens of people in El Paso, Texas, after citing an "invasion" on the Southwest border.

In addition to questioning senior national security officials about the rise in white nationalism violence, they also plan to ask them whether they think President Donald Trump is instigating violent acts with his rhetoric, reports Greg Sargent in the Washington Post.

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