There’s a lively debate on the Internet about whether Martin Shkreli, called the most hated man in America for jacking up the price of a drug by 5,000 percent, is a Jew. He claims to be an Albanian Catholic. Part of that debate revolves around arguments about whether he would have been charged with a crime if he were a Jew, since Jews (Bernie Madoff excluded because he stole from other Jews) often get a free pass from the legal system.
Where there is no debate is that the major Wall Street banksters have never been put on trial. Some keen observers of the financial scene liken Shkreli to a sacrificial lamb, thrown out in a high profile sacrifice to keep the public pacified.
Bankers walk free.
Shkreli’s bad boy attitude toward repricing the drug his company acquired the rights to also showed the general arrogance of Big Pharma, which the Pharma Bro wasn’t part of. He was just a bit player who revealed that the emperor had no clothes.
A federal jury Friday found notorious “Pharma bro” Martin Shkreli guilty of three counts of securities fraud — but acquitted him of five other criminal counts related to hedge funds investors and a drug company he founded.
The split verdict in Shkreli’s trial came at about 2:37 p.m. on the fifth day of jury deliberations, after a more-than-month-long trial in Brooklyn, New York, federal court.
At that trial, prosecutors claimed Shkreli had defrauded multiple investors in his two hedge funds out of millions of dollars, only to repay them with stock and cash that he looted from a the biotech company he created, Retrophin.
While the seven-woman, five-man jury clearly accepted some of the prosecution’s evidence, it rejected other parts of their argument.
The mixed decision perplexed many in the courtroom, including the 34-year-old Shkreli, who first drew widespread public scorn in 2015 for raising the price of a lifesaving drug by more than 5,000 percent.
He looked over quizzically at one of this lawyers, Marc Agnifilo, each of the three times that Judge Kiyo Matsumoto interrupted a set of “not guilty” announcements she was reading off of the jury’s verdict sheet with a “guilty” one.
A juror who was quoted anonymously by the New York Times, said “In some of the counts at least we couldn’t find that he intentionally stole from them and the reasoning was to hurt them.”
Matsumoto did not set a sentencing date. That will happen after prosecutors and defense lawyers argue how much, if any, money Shkreli should be ordered to forfeit, and after defense lawyers ask her to overturn the guilty verdicts.
Shkreli, who remains free on $5 million bail, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
But he is sure to receive a far-less-severe punishment than that, given his lack of a criminal record, and other factors.
“I think we are delighted in many ways,” said Shkreli said outside of the courthouse.
“This was a witch hunt of epic proportions and maybe they found one or two broomsticks but at the end of the day we’ve been acquitted of the most important charges in this case.”
He almost immediately afterward used his new Twitter account, @samthemanTP, to comment on the outcome of the case, and also started a livestream on YouTube from his apartment.