Friday, 28 July, 2017

Ex-CEO's reputation precedes him, affects jury selection

Martin Shkreli defies advice to keep quiet before his fraud trial Ex-CEO's reputation precedes him, affects jury selection
Grace Luna | 28 June, 2017, 05:20

Martin Shkreli, the former pharmaceutical CEO who became a pariah after raising the cost of a life-saving drug 5,000 percent, arrives at federal court in the Brooklyn borough of NY for jury selection in his trial.

On Monday, potential jurors in the trial ruled themselves out, saying they would be unable to be impartial when reaching a decision regarding the innocence or guilt of the former pharmaceutical executive in a fraud case.

On Monday, jury selection for the trial of Shkreli kicked off, and it wasn't long before the excitement of seeing Shkreli brought to justice was dampened, ironically, due to how universally reviled he is.

Some of the jurors knew about the 34-year-old Shkreli, who became known as "the most hated man on the internet" two years ago after hiking the price of the drug Daraprim overnight from $13.50 per pill to $750 as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals.

Others said they had been affected personally by Shkreli's price increases.

While Shkreli is charged for securities fraud, Assistant US Attorney Alexandra Smith said jurors may hear about Skreli's handling of Daraprin during the trial.

Still, average Americans can relate more to high drug prices than they can to backroom corporate dealings-a phenomenon that was on display in Matsumoto's courtroom on Monday. While most were excused for issues unrelated to Shkreli, many of those who were aware of the so-called "pharma bro" did nothing to hide their disdain.

In early 2016, Shkreli pleaded the Fifth Amendment multiple times during a congressional hearing related to rising drug prices.

Shkreli's attorney, Benjamin Brafman, joked about the woman's strongly negative reaction.

"Oh, very good", Matsumoto said, allowing the woman to remain as a prospective juror.

He said that Mr. Shkreli's lawyers had objected to a reporter's presence at the sidebar for that reason, among others.

"I looked right at him, and in my head I said, 'That's a snake, ' not knowing who he is".

Only one potential juror seemed to side with Mr. Shkreli: a woman who said her former husband had a medical-supply business that dealt with the stock market. About two-thirds of roughly 90 prospective jurors questioned in the morning session were dismissed.

On Tuesday, the judge denied defense requests to start the selection process over and ban reporters from listening in on sidebars, WRAL.com reported.

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