Martin Shkreli Fraud Trial

Martin Shkreli Fraud Trial

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Updated Mar 09, 2018 at 03:25PM EST by Adam.

Added Aug 17, 2017 at 12:27PM EDT by Matt.

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Martin Shkreli Fraud Trial is a criminal trial that found controversial pharmaceutical entrepreneur Martin Shkreli guilty of two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy.


In December 2015, Martin Shkreli, the infamous former pharmaceutical CEO made famous for raising the price of Daraprim, a $13.50 HIV medication to $750 overnight, was arrested on securities fraud and wire fraud charges, unrelated to the Daraprim controversy.[1] Prosecuters accused Shkreli of "funneling money from MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare investors" to the drug company he used to run, Retrophin, between 2009 and 2014. Shkreli then used the money from Retrophin to pay them back.[2]

On June 26, 2017, Shkreli's trial began. He faced up 20 years prison on eight counts of fraud.


One day after the trial began, the court denied Shkreli's request for a mistrial. According to the New York Post,[3] Shkreli's attorney argued that his client could not receive a fair trial due to negative press surrounding the former pharmaceutical CEO. The report also stated that jurors had been referring to Shkreli as a "dick," "snake" and "evil."

Court Room Sketches

On June 27th, along with the first reports of the mistrial, court room sketches of Shkreli were also released (shown below). The website Death and Taxes[4] noted that the person responsible for the depiction of the defendant in court was the same artist known for sketching Tom Brady during the #DeflateGate controversy.

This first sketch started appearing on Twitter at this time. On June 28th, the Twitter [5] account for the band Spoon posted the picture with the caption "This courtroom sketch of Martin Shkreli would make a decent cover for the next Fall album." The post (shown below, left) received more than 100 retweets and 500 likes. That day, Twitter[6] user @KyleKulinski post the picture with the caption "Martin Shkreli's courtroom pic 😂😂" The post (shown below, right) received more than 145 retweets and 700 likes.

SPOON @spoontheband This courtroom sketch of Martin Shkrelti would make a decent cover for the next Fall album Secular Talk @KvleKulinski ムヘムヘ Martin Shkreli's courtroom pic

About a month later, on August 4th, Twitter[7] user @jamesharveytm posted a number of court room pictures with the caption "Sure, they had search high and low to find a jury who don't hate Martin Shkreli. The sketch artist? Not held to the same standards." The post (shown below) received more than 8,800 retweets and 25,000 likes.

Sure, they had search high and low to find a jury who don't hate Martin Shkreli. The sketch artist? Not held to the same standards

Shortly after the sketches went viral on Twitter, other users began comparing Shkreli's appearance in the images to that of Gollum's from the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. People posted images of Gollum next to Shkreli to make the comparison more pronounced.

Nah, that's Gollum. A perfect likeness This is too easy #Shkreli


On August 4th, after five days of deliberation, the jury found Shkreli guilty of two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy. One of the counts of securities fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Shkreli called the conviction "a witch hunt of epic proportions." That day, he did a livestream on YouTube in which he discussed his conviction and promised to freestyle (shown below). The video received more than 104,000 times in two weeks.

Jury Comments

On August 16th, Harper's Magazine published a transcript of jury comments about Martin Shkreli. The transcript clarifies why jury selection was so difficult. The potential jurors refer to him as ""I think he’s a greedy little man" and say, "When I walked in here today I looked at him, and in my head, that’s a snake -- not knowing who he was. I just walked in and looked right at him and that’s a snake."

The most popular comments were in reference to Shkreli's buying a one-of-a-kind copy of an unreleased Wu-Tang Clan album (shown below). Juror 144 said, "I heard through the news of how the defendant changed the price of a pill by up-selling it. I heard he bought an album from the Wu-Tang Clan for a million dollars." Likewise, Juror 59 said, "And he disrespected the Wu-Tang Clan.

THE COURT: Well, I'm going to excuse you. Juror Number 144, tell us what you have heard JUROR NO. 144: I heard through the news of how the defendant changed the price of a pill by up-selling it. I heard he bought an album from the Wu-Tang Clan for a million dollars. THE COURT: The question is, have you heard anything that would affector abilityto decide this case with an open mind. Can you do that? UROR NO. 144: I don't think I can because he kind of looks like a d---. THE COURT: All right. I'm going to excuse you. Juror Number 59, come on up. UROR NO. 59: Your Honor, totally he is guilty and in no way can I let him slide out of anything because not been proven guilty? UROR NO. 59: It's my attitude toward his entire demeanor, what he has done to people. THE COURT: All right. We are going to excuse you, sir. UROR NO. 59: And he disrespected the Wu-Tang Clan.

Several media outlets reported on these Wu-Tang comments, including SPIN,[8] Mashable,[9] The Guardian,[10] NME,[11] UPROXX[12] and more. Twitter[13] published a Moments page on the juror transcript, archiving the reaction to the report.

Prison Sentencing

On March 9th, 2018, Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison for lying to investors of his failed hedge fund. Shkreli's attorney, Benjamin Brafman, argued during the hearing that the 15-year sentence sought by prosecutors was too extreme, saying "He shouldn't be sentenced simply for being Martin Shkreli."[14] He also added "I'm old enough to be his father. There are times I want to hug him … There are times when I want to punch him in the face." Shkreli cried during the sentencing and admitted "I want the people who came here today to support me to understand one thing, the only person to blame for me being here today is me. I took down Martin Shkreli." Prior to his sentencing, Shrekli was ordered to forfeit many of his assets, including the rare, one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album he had purchased.

Twitter users commented upon the sentencing by saying it was unfortunate that Shkreli was going to jail for the fraud rather than his increased price on AIDS drugs (examples shown below).

mattlubchansky Follow @Lubchansky it's cool that martin shkreli could do whatever he wanted to sick, poor people, but is being banished to the phantom zone for stealing money from investors 3:00 PM-9 Mar 2018 Isaac @Worldoflsaac Follow Just to be clear, Martin Shkreli went to jail for defrauding investors and not for being an assole that charged $750 for an anti-malaria pl You can prey on poor people but don't you dare f--- with rich investors 3:38 PM-9 Mar 2018

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