Martin Shkreli Will Be Spending Quite Some Time Behind Bars

Darnell Taylor
March 12, 2018

Martin Shkreli, once dubbed the most hated man in America for ratcheting up the price of an HIV drug, has been sentenced to seven years in prison for defrauding investors.

The sentence from U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, was shorter than the 15 years asked for by prosecutors but much longer than the 12 to 18 months Shkreli's lawyers had sought.

Shkreli has been in jail since September, when Matsumoto revoked his bail after he offered his social media followers $5,000 if they could bring him a hair from former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

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"I am terribly sorry I lost your trust", he said. He may also have to part with a Picasso painting and a rare rap album by group the Wu-Tang Clan, for which he paid an exorbitant $2M. At one point, a clerk handed him a box of tissues.

"There is no conspiracy to take down Martin Shkreli". I am no victim here, ' Shkreli said, before breaking down into tears as he promised not to let his lawyer Benjamin Brafman down in his efforts to contribute to society.

Shkreli emerged as a public villain in 2015 after raising the price of Daraprim by more than 5,000 percent, from $13.50 to $750 per pill as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals.

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Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis said Friday that the judge must also consider the history and characteristics of the defendant.

But even Mr Brafman reportedly acknowledged "there are times when I want to punch him in the face" because his client's behaviour complicated the defence. "He can't be just an average person who fails".

The mainstream pharma industry has distanced itself from the actions of Shkreli, who used to be famous for his arrogance and egotism when criticised about his actions in interviews. Afterward, he tweeted that the lawmakers were "imbeciles".

He was tight-lipped when faced with a barrage of questions about the price hike from members of Congress a couple of months later, citing his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. Shkreli insisted it was a joke. And she noted that Shkreli's family and friends "state, nearly universally, that he is kind and misunderstood" and willing to help others in need.

Arrested in December 2015, his bail was revoked in September after he offered a reward for anyone who would grab a strand of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's hair.

She said it was clear he is a "tremendously gifted individual who has the capacity for kindness". One woman described how she became an avid follower of Shkreli's social media commentary, which she described as being "on par with some form of performance art".

Another supporter said Shkreli's soft side was demonstrated when he adopted a cat from a shelter - named Trashy - that became a fixture on his live streams.

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