Martin Shkreli, the 34-year-old “pharma bro” who has been called the “face of corporate greed,” was ordered on Wednesday to stop talking about his federal securities-fraud trial.
As reported by CNBC, U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto ruled on the prosecution’s gag order request.
“All your client has to do is stop talking in the courthouse and around the perimeter of the courthouse,” the judge told Shkreli’s attorneys.
The ruling came after Shkreli gave an impromptu June 30 press conference during a break in the trial at a Brooklyn, New York, federal courthouse.
Shkreli reportedly dismissed prosecutors as “junior varsity,” and complained that others “blame me for everything.”
Shkreli’s attorney Benjamin Brafman was forced to interrupt his client’s conversation with a small group of reporters.
“I’m hoping he doesn’t do it ever again,” Brafman told CNBC, adding that Shkreli sometimes “doesn’t have a filter.”
Prosecutors filed the gag order motion on Monday night, saying that they strongly suspected that Shkreli, despite being banned from Twitter earlier this year for harassing a female journalist, had resumed tweeting under the handle @BLMBro, an account which has since been suspended.
“It is of utmost importance to us that we avoid the circus-like atmosphere that we have discussed,” Assistant U.S Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis appealed to the judge.
In granting the gag order, Matsumoto expressed concern that Shkreli’s comments would taint the jury. CNBC previously reported that jury selection for the trial was already complicated by Shrkeli’s infamy, with multiple potential jurors excused as a result of their opinions about the defendant.
“I know he’s the most hated man in America,” said one potential juror, who was excused.
As Crime Online previously reported, Shkreli gained notoriety in 2015 after his former company Turing Pharmaceuticals acquired a drug named Daraprim, which is used to treat toxoplasmosis, an infection potentially fatal for patients with HIV/AIDS or other immunosuppressive conditions.
Shkreli’s company then raised the price by over 5,000 percent, from $13 a pill to $750. The move caused public outrage, with then-presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and even Donald Trump decrying the former hedge fund manager’s actions.
Trump famously called Shkreli a “spoiled brat,” although Shkreli later praised Trump and endorsed his candidacy.
The current securities-fraud trial is unrelated to the controversy surrounding the price hike of the AIDS drug. It is instead focused on Shkreli’s actions at another drug company he founded, Retrophin. He is accused of defrauding millions of dollars to repay investors in a Ponzi-like scheme.
Feature photo: Associated Press