Former pharmaceuticals company CEO Martin Shkreli has had his bail revoked and is going to jail while he awaits sentencing for a securities fraud conviction.
- Shkreli offered a $US5,000 bounty for securing one of Hillary Clinton’s hairs with follicle attached
- Lawyer Ben Brafman said act intended as “political satire”
- Shkreli says “50-50 chance” he won’t face punishment for fraud conviction
A judge heard arguments about whether the provocative online antics of Shkreli, dubbed the Pharma Bro, were bad enough to put him behind bars and decided to have him taken into custody immediately.
A defence attorney had argued in court papers that Shkreli’s recent offer to pay a $US5,000 bounty ($6,262) for securing a Hillary Clinton hair with a follicle while she was on a book tour was merely a tasteless joke comparable to some of US President Donald Trump’s derisive comments, not a threat worthy of putting him behind bars.
“Indeed, in the current political climate, dissent has unfortunately often taken the form of political satire, hyperbole, parody or sarcasm,” wrote the lawyer, Ben Brafman.
“There is a difference, however, between comments that are intended to threaten or harass and comments — albeit offensive ones — that are intended as political satire or strained humour.”
The attorney was responding to Government filings last week that argued Shkreli’s behaviour was threatening enough to jail him while he awaits sentencing for his securities fraud conviction.
Martin Shkreli offered a bounty for someone to take some Hillary Clinton’s hair while she was on tour. (Reuters: Andrew Kelly)
Prosecutors said the posting prompted the Secret Service to use more resources because it ran the risk many of Shkreli’s social media followers would think he was serious.
Shkreli, who is best known for hiking up the price of a life-saving drug and for trolling his critics on social media, was found guilty last month on charges, unrelated to the price-fixing scandal, that he cheated investors in two failed hedge funds he ran.
The defence had argued investors got their original investments back and even made hefty profits.
Shkreli has said he felt “exonerated” despite his conviction and thought there was a “50-50 chance” he would not face any punishment. He chatted with fans on his YouTube channel and sparred with a reporter after last month’s verdict.
“In sum and substance,” he said, “I feel exonerated.”