Dozens of prospective jurors beg off 'Pharma Bro' case

Martin Shkreli defies advice to keep quiet before his fraud trial

On Monday, potential jurors in the trial ruled themselves out, saying they would be unable to be impartial when reaching a decision regarding the innocence or guilt of the former pharmaceutical executive in a fraud case.

Shkreli was notorious before his arrest, after hiking prices in 2015 for Daraprim, which is used by many AIDS patients, to $750 per pill from $13.50 after obtaining the license for its manufacture. However, Shkreli has continued to talk with reporters and be active on social media.

Brafman intends to argue in court that Shkreli lacked the requisite criminal intent to defraud investors and relied on his trusted counsel, Greebel.

He's accused of mismanaging money at his investment funds Elea Capital, MSMB Capital, MSMB Healthcare, as well as while he was CEO of Retrophin, a pharmaceutical company he founded in 2011.

Other potential jurors had bad reactions to Mr. Shkreli himself. One potential juror reported that both of his parents take Daraprim, according to the Times.

Still, average Americans can relate more to high drug prices than they can to backroom corporate dealings-a phenomenon that was on display in Matsumoto's courtroom on Monday.

"Who does that? A person who puts profit over everything else", another prospective juror said while mimicking wringing Shkreli's neck.

"I think he's a very evil man", said one young woman in Brooklyn, New York, federal court as she was questioned by Judge Kiyo Matsumoto out of Shkreli's earshot about her bias toward him, as prosecutors and defense lawyers listened in.

"I'm excited", Shkreli said of the trial in a brief phone call last week to The Associated Press.

At least three other jurors mistakenly believed Shkreli was responsible for raising the cost of EpiPen - an allergy injection - and could therefore not be fair toward him. "I bought these domains for $12 - you can have them for $12,000".

Once in court, Shkreli's lawyer Benjamin Brafman asked to start the trial over because news reports cited negative opinions prospective jurors had expressed about his client.

"This is the price gouger of drugs".

A third man said, "He kind of looks like a d--".

Juror questioning was conducted nearly entirely in sidebar - out of earshot from other jurors and Shkreli, who read documents and took copious notes during the nearly 7-hour long hearing.

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