Martin Shkreli’s Securities Fraud Trial Scheduled for Juneby
Retrophin founder accused of using company assets to pay debts
Government sought earlier trial, possibly in February
Martin Shkreli is a long way off from going to trial. A federal judge scheduled the former pharmaceutical executive to be tried on June 26, 2017, in a securities fraud case.
The 33-year-old founder of Retrophin Inc. and Turing Pharmaceuticals AG was arrested in December and accused of defrauding investors in hedge funds he ran and using $11 million of Retrophin assets to pay them off. He’s also accused of hiding his control of unrestricted stock in the company, which prosecutors allege he used to help satisfy his debts.
While CEO of Turing, Shkreli was called a poster boy for greed when the company raised the price of a rare treatment for a potentially deadly infection by more than 5,000 percent. Although the criminal case has nothing to do with the price increase, Shkreli has said he was targeted by prosecutors because of his notoriety. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The government had been pushing to try the case as soon as February. A lawyer who is charged as Shkreli’s accomplice, Evan Greebel, had asked for the trial to be held in September or October 2017.
Shkreli arrived to court in a gray blazer, pale blue shirt and khaki-colored pants. Flanked by his lawyers, Ben Brafman and Marc Agnifilo, Shkreli sat quietly at the defense table during the hearing, at times raising his eyebrows at prosecutors and exchanging glances with reporters who were watching from the jury box. He also scribbled notes to Agnifilo repeatedly during the discussion.
Brafman told the judge that his client is likely to pursue a reliance of counsel defense, meaning he could say Greebel was responsible for Shkreli’s actions. Both men may also try to seek separate trials.
Standing outside the courthouse next to Shkreli after the hearing, Brafman said his client isn’t necessarily trying to blame Greebel.
"I don’t think there’s a finger of blame to point in this case," Brafman said. Even if Shkreli pursues that defense it "doesn’t necessarily mean that either committed a crime."