US seeks to jail ‘Pharma Bro’ Shkreli, citing ‘pattern of threats’
U.S. prosecutors on Thursday asked a judge to jail Martin Shkreli while he awaits sentencing for securities fraud, after a Facebook post by the former drug company executive about Hillary Clinton prompted an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service.
“Shkreli has engaged in an escalating pattern of threats and harassment that warrant his detention pending sentencing,” prosecutors said in a filing in Brooklyn federal court late on Thursday.
They pointed to a Sept. 4 Facebook post in which Shkreli offered $5,000 to followers who could grab a strand of Clinton’s hair during the former presidential candidate’s upcoming book tour. That led the Secret Service, charged with protecting Clinton, to contact him.
Shkreli told the Secret Service, through a lawyer, that he would remove the post on Tuesday, but did not do so until Wednesday, prosecutors said.
The prosecutors said Shkreli’s conduct showed he poses a “danger to the community,” and that his $5 million bail should be revoked.
U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto will hold a hearing on the motion on Sept. 14. Shkreli’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said he would file a response soon.
“However inappropriate some of Mr. Shkreli’s postings may have been, we do not believe that he intended harm and do not believe that he poses a danger to the community,” Brafman said in an email. “We take the matter seriously and intend to address the issue responsibly.”
Shkreli was convicted in August of defrauding investors of two hedge funds he ran, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare. He was acquitted of stealing from a drug company he later founded, Retrophin Inc, to pay them back.
Though he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years, Shkreli will likely serve much less, in part because none of his hedge fund investors lost money.
Before the trial, Shkreli, 34, was best known for raising the price of anti-infection drug Daraprim by 5,000 percent in 2015 while he was chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals. The move sparked outrage by patients and U.S. lawmakers, earning him the nickname “pharma bro.”
He has remained active on social media since his December 2015 arrest, frequently clashing with critics. He was banned from the social media platforum Twitter in January for harassing a female journalist.
(Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum)