Martin Shkreli, an extremely lifelike Chucky doll who managed to parlay a history of price-gouging AIDS patients, harassing journalists, and contemplating the destruction of priceless works of art into a form of middling Internet notoriety, goes on trial in Brooklyn this week for what is at once his most allegedly criminal and also, somehow, his least offensive act: securities fraud. But the ex-CEO is infamous for something completely different: raising the price of a life-saving medication given to infants and people with HIV/AIDS by more than 5,000 percent overnight as CEO and founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals. "They're struggling to pay" for their daily medical routine.
Specifically, prosecutors say, Shkreli violated federal law when he managed two hedge funds during that time and swindled investors.
Even with his federal securities fraud trial set to begin Monday, Martin Shkreli has blatantly defied his attorneys' advice to lay low.
One by one, potential jurors huddled with the judge and the lawyers, WCBS 880's Peter Haskell reported.
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"The price gouger of drugs".
Shkreli is on trial of on charges unrelated to his drug pricing.
"I looked right at him, and in my head I said, 'That's a snake, ' not knowing who he is".
Benjamin Brafman, who is representing Shkreli, told FiercePharma in an email that he objected to the private sidebars because he was concerned that the resulting press reports would prejudice the case going forward.
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"I know he's the most hated man in America, in my opinion".
The potential jurors were questioned at a sidebar with Judge Matsumoto, defense lawyers, prosecutors and one reporter from a news pool. Another prospective juror was dismissed after citing a friend who had lost money in a Ponzi scheme.
Other potential jurors had bad reactions to Shkreli himself.
By 1:00 p.m., close to 70 possible jurors, out of a pool of 130, had already been excused from the case, and none had been seated. But if the first day of jury selection is any indication, he's unlikely to have much luck finding average citizens who can maintain a neutral stance on the controversial life sciences investor.
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