Martin Shkreli, who was convicted two weeks ago of federal criminal securities fraud, says he thinks he was charged for being a flamboyant person, didn't do anything wrong and doesn’t think he will go to prison.
But that certainly was not the belief of potential jurors, according to recently released court transcripts. Many in the jury pool were convinced the former pharma exec and hedge fund manager was guilty of something, even without hearing a shred of evidence in the case.
“I don’t think I’ll have to forfeit any money, I don’t think I’m going to jail,” Shkreli told Fox News in an exclusive interview Tuesday with Maria Bartiromo.
“The government made this large and fanciful, and now we learned false, tale of me stealing from my own drug company to pay off these investors and the jury found that story implausible and they rendered as you know five out of eight counts not guilty...” Shkreli said.
While he was convicted of securities fraud for misleading investors at pharma company Retrophin and two hedge funds, it was his bragging on Twitter about his 5,000% price hike for HIV-related drug Daraprim that created his public persona and made him the poster boy of bad pharma actors. That was while he was CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, a company he formed after being asked to leave Retrophin.
He became so notorious for his price-jacking attitude that when a court convened his trial last summer, lawyers had to question more than 200 jurors to find a dozen who said they weren’t already biased against him.
According to transcripts of the jury selection process published this week by Harper’s Magazine, even though the case was about securities fraud, many potential jurors came to court with very strong feelings tied to what they had heard about the drug price hike.
The judge and lawyers knew they faced a difficult situation from the git-go when juror number 1 said about giving Shkreli a fair hearing, “I’m aware of the defendant and I hate him.”
That same kind of theme was repeated time and again by dozens of those who had been called in on the federal case and asked if they could listen to the evidence and consider his fate with an open mind.
Juror number 155 said, “I have read a lot of articles about the case. I think he is as guilty as they come.”
And juror number 10: “The only thing I’d be impartial about is what prison this guy goes to.”
Despite all of that, Shkreli pointed out to Bartiromo that federal prosecutors had brought eight federal criminal charges against him and he was convicted of only three.
He said he thinks there is a good chance those three convictions will be reversed and that he will escape going to prison—which he thinks will please his former investors.
“My investors are happy. Some of them emailed me, congratulated me on getting acquitted on most of the charges,” Shkreli said.
But that certainly wasn’t the attitude of some of those who were to sit in judgment. When asked if it was possible to decide the case against Shkreli with an open mind, juror number 144 responded bluntly.
“I don’t think I can because he kind of looks like a dick.”