"Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli can't find jurors who don't already hate him

One potential juror admitted, "I looked right at him and, in my head, I said ‘that’s a snake”

By Matthew Rozsa

Published June 27, 2017 8:47AM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Martin Shkreli, the so-called "Pharma Bro," is having trouble finding jurors in his upcoming fraud trial who haven't already heard of him — and developed a distinctly negative impression of the man.

One potential juror said she thought of Shkreli as an "evil man," according to a report by Bloomberg. Another juror confirmed that she had heard of Shkreli reputation as the "most hated man in America," which naturally raised concerns among Shkreli's attorneys about her impartiality. Yet another juror admitted that when she saw Shkreli, "I looked right at him and, in my head, I said ‘that’s a snake.'"

Three potential jurors even blamed Shkreli for the price hike of the Epipen, even though he had nothing to do with that.

Not surprisingly, they were among the dozen or so potential jurors who were dismissed because they couldn't be unbiased about Shkreli.

Although Shkreli is most infamous for raising the price of an anti-AIDS drug by more than 5,000 percent, he is being tried for something completely unrelated — fraud. More specifically, he is accused of perpetrating "a series of frauds" between October 2009 and March 2014 while managing a pair of hedge funds that he had founded, according to a report by NPR. These included MSMB Capital Management and MSMB Healthcare.

Shkreli's alleged "widespread fraudulent conduct" includes allegedly using money from one account to cover claims from the other, giving away stock and money from his pharmaceutical company Retrophin to investors and misrepresenting the performance of one of his funds. Five of the eight counts for securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud contain possible maximum sentences of 20 years in prison each; the other three only put him at risk for five years in prison.


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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