Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are pleading with a judge to impose a gag order on Martin Shkreli – perhaps better known as “Pharma Bro” – after accusing the maligned former pharmaceutical executive of disrupting his trial by blabbing to the press.
Shkreli, who is in the midst of a securities fraud trial over allegations that he duped investors into handing him millions of dollars under false pretenses, allegedly made a “high publicized visit” last week to a room reserved for press covering his trial, the New York Daily News reported.
There, Shkreli unloaded a scattershot flood of criticism against the witnesses, prosecution team, and government case to a rapt audience of journalists. His lawyers were nowhere to be found. The bizarre rant lasted for nearly ten minutes before attorney Ben Brafman caught up to his client and showed him the door.
Prosecutors complained that Pharma Bro has “embarked on a campaign of disruption by commenting on trial evidence and witnesses to the press and on social media, and by making a spectacle of himself and the trial directly on courthouse grounds.”
If the judge does not see fit to issue a gag order, then prosecutors at least want jurors to be sequestered so that they are not exposed to Shkreli’s word vomit, which they argue could potentially sway their opinion of the case.
However, Shkreli’s lawyers insisted that their client should be allowed to maintain his First Amendment rights even if he is on trial and noted that he has the option of speaking to the media if he so chooses. Prosecutors clearly disagree.
“Shkreli has been an active and deeply divisive media presence for years,” they said, claiming that he is back on Twitter under the handle “@BLMBro” while falsefully claiming that the account belongs to a “super fan.”
The trial certainly got off to an explosive start. While Shkreli’s lawyers attempted to paint him as a misunderstood genius who never meant to do anything wrong, prosecutors accused him of willfully manipulating investors to cover up misuse of his company’s funds.