Martin Shkreli Seeking New Lawyers in Securities Fraud Case

  • Ex-drug executive gave interview to New York TV station
  • Shkreli called charges `fictitious,' decried `pharma bro' tag

Martin Shkreli is looking for new lawyers to help him fight securities fraud charges. 

Attorneys for the former drug executive filed a letter in Brooklyn, New York, federal court saying their client has indicated he wants new counsel. The lawyers asked to delay a status conference set for Wednesday.

Martin Shkreli
Martin Shkreli
Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg

The lawyers said issues arose over the holiday weekend. On Jan. 17, Shkreli allowed a reporter for New York’s Fox 5 TV station to come to his apartment for an interview in which he complained about being called a “pharma bro” in the press. He described the criminal case against him as ”fictitious.”

“We respectfully request a two-week continuance of the scheduled conference so that Mr. Shkreli can finalize his engagement of new counsel and we can properly transition the matter to the new attorneys,” lawyers Marcus Asner and Baruch Weiss said in the letter, dated Jan. 18.

Shkreli declined to comment on the letter.

The 32-year-old founder of hedge funds and pharmaceutical companies attracted national attention in September for increasing the price of a life-saving drug more than 5,000 percent. 

Free on Bond

He was arrested last month and charged with securities fraud. Prosecutors say he lied to investors and used money from a company he ran to cover losses at his funds. He pleaded not guilty and was released on bond.

While the government accuses him of lying to investors in his hedge funds and deceiving officials at Retrophin Inc., a biopharmaceutical company he founded, Shkreli has said the drug-price increase, which isn’t part of the federal case, spurred authorities to target him.

Ousted by Retrophin in 2014, Shkreli stepped down as chief executive officer from another company he founded, Turing Pharmaceuticals AG, after his arrest. Another company, KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc., fired him as CEO after the arrest and sought bankruptcy protection in late December. Investors have sued that company to recover $5.4 million.

The case is U.S. v. Shkreli, 1:15-cr-00637, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

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