Martin Shkreli, the former pharmaceuticals company CEO who was once known as “the most hated man in America”, has had his bail revoked after provocative online antics and is going to jail in New York while he awaits sentencing for securities fraud.
A judge at a Wednesday hearing sided with a government demand to jail Shkreli, the so-called pharma bro, saying that Shkreli’s offer to pay a $5,000 bounty for a Hillary Clinton hair with the follicle was “solicitation of an assault”.
The judge said that was not protected by the first amendment and there was “a risk someone may take” Shkreli up on his offer.
On Wednesday morning, Shkreli wrote to the court apologizing for his behavior, saying: “I am not a violent person.”
But for the judge, it was too little, too late.
“He doesn’t have to apologize to me,” she said. “He should apologize to the government, the Secret Service and Hillary Clinton.”
Shkreli watched in silence as the hearing unfolded and sometimes put his head down and appeared to scribble notes. After the judge’s ruling, he remained expressionless as deputy US marshals led him out a side door of the courtroom without handcuffing him.
The government sought to get Shkreli locked up as a danger to the community amid the fallout from his social media post, which read: “The Clinton Foundation is willing to KILL to protect its secrets. So on HRC’s book tour, try to grab a hair from her. I must confirm the sequences I have. Will pay $5,000 per hair obtained from Hillary Clinton.”
A defense attorney had argued in court papers that Shkreli’s recent offer was merely a tasteless joke comparable to some of Donald Trump’s derisive comments, not a threat worthy of putting him behind bars.
Shkreli faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing, set for 16 January.
Best known for hiking up the price of a life-saving drug and for trolling his critics on social media, he was found guilty last month on charges, unrelated to the pricing scandal, that he cheated investors in two failed hedge funds he ran. The defense had argued that investors got their original investments back and even made hefty profits.
Shkreli has said he feels “exonerated” despite his conviction and thinks there is a “50-50 chance” he won’t face any punishment. He chatted with fans on his YouTube channel and sparred with a reporter after last month’s verdict.
“In sum and substance,” he said, “I feel exonerated.”