US prosecutors have asked US judge to issue a gag order on Martin Shkreli, former drug company executive, whose being tried for securities fraud charges. Federal prosecutors are afraid his public statements could taint jury perception.
Asking To Dismiss
Benjamin Brafman, Shkreli’s attorney, asked the judge to dismiss the order on the basis that his client has the right for free speech, his basic First Amendment right.
This request popped up after Shkreli had told reporters last week that one of the victims wasn’t a victim, but someone who has also benefitted financially from his investments. Attorneys for the US government went on to send a letter to the US judge Kiyo Matsumoto who is presiding over the case, stating that Shkreli was talking to the press about details pertaining to the case.
Brafman wrote in a filing, “His comments are the somewhat natural, though unfortunate consequence of a young man with a demonstrated history of significant anxiety being at the center of a supremely difficult time in his life,” expressing that his client was in a delicate state and wanted to show the press that he wasn’t such a bad guy.
Press have dubbed the drugs executive the “pharma bro.” Shkreli became infamous for raising the price of a lifesaving drug up by 5,000 percent and he played around with assets and investments for both his drug company Retrophin and hedge fun MSMB.
He has been charged for securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Shkreli has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Prosecutors have asked the judge to sequester all jury members to avoid any influence or taint to their perception and judgement. In the gag order, prosecutors also wrote that on YouTube, the defendant had identified himself as “BLMBro” which is the same handle as a twitter account that has been posting sensitive information on witnesses and evidence pertaining the case.
Shkreli’s lawyer Brafman argues that his client is a “misunderstood genius” who has earned his affluent investors millions.