'Pharma Bro' defies advice to keep quiet before fraud trial


Former pharmaceutical executive and Wall Street investor Martin Shkreli, called by some "the most hated man in America", went on trial Monday for securities fraud.

"The price has been going up in the last few years, so they can't afford their drugs", the prospective juror said of his parents. Prosecutors say that after Shkreli lost millions of dollars through bad trades through his side business hedge fund, he looted a second pharmaceutical company for $11 million to pay them back.

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.

"I'm anticipating an article, a piece, that will further complicate the already complicated job of defending someone people feel so strongly about", Shkreli's attorney Ben Brafman said.

Even with his federal securities fraud trial set to begin Monday, Shkreli has.

One of them called him "the face of corporate greed". While most were excused for issues unrelated to Shkreli, many of those who were aware of the so-called "pharma bro" did nothing to hide their disdain. An eight-count indictment accuses Shkreli of several acts of fraud relating to two hedge funds he previously led as well as the steep price hikes on drugs he approved as the head of a biotechnology start-up. One by one, potential jurors huddled with the judge and the lawyers, WCBS 880's Peter Haskell reported.

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Shkreli "travels to the beat of a very unique drummer", exasperated-sounding defense attorney Benjamin Brafman said at a pretrial hearing this month.

He said that Mr. Shkreli's lawyers had objected to a reporter's presence at the sidebar for that reason, among others.

"I think they'll return a not-guilty verdict in two hours", he said.

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.

NEW YORK (AP) - Jury selection at the securities fraud trial of a former pharmaceutical CEO notorious for price-gouging has hit a rough patch.