Pharma bro fraudster Martin Shkreli was jailed Wednesday after a federal judge revoked his $5 million bail in response to a Facebook post where Shkreli solicited a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair in return for $5,000. Shkreli was convicted in August on three counts of fraud over his running of two hedge funds and a pharmaceutical company and is awaiting sentencing. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
Shkreli issued an apology for the post, which is but the latest instance of erratic behavior by the 34-year-old, who first came into public view in 2015 for gleefully raising the price of an AIDS medication 5,000 percent overnight from $1 to $750. “It never occurred to me that my awkward attempt at humor or satire would cause Mrs. Clinton or the Secret Service any distress,” Shkreli said in a written letter to the judge. “I understand now, that some may have read my comments about Mrs. Clinton as threatening, when that was never my intention when making those comments.”
U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, however, wasn’t buying it. “He does not need to apologize to me. He should have apologized to the government, the Secret Service, and Hillary Clinton,” Matsumoto said Wednesday. “This is a solicitation of assault. That is not protected by the First Amendment… There has been a danger presented through this post.”
Shkreli was taken to jail immediately following the hour-long hearing and will likely stay there until his sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for January. Despite his public posture around the bail hearing, if you thought that Shkreli was actually remorseful—about anything—think again. From the Washington Post:
On Facebook, Shkreli has struck a more defiant note. “Lol Hillary Clinton’s presumptive agents are hard at work. It was just a prank, bro! But still, lock HER up. Spend your resources investigating her, not me!!,” he said in a post the same day prosecutors filed their motion to have his bail revoked.
Shkreli’s lawyers argued, unsuccessfully, that the public irritant of a man is not a threat. They did not argue that he is not a bad person. Shkreli’s attorneys even tried to use Donald Trump’s deceitful language and abhorrent conduct on the campaign trail as precedent for why the convicted fraudster was engaging in protected speech. Or more specifically, “constitutionally-protected political hyperbole.”
“During the campaign, Trump used ‘political hyperbole,” Shkreli’s attorneys said, when he said that Clinton, his Democratic opponent, would abolish the Second Amendment if elected… “Indeed, in the current political climate, dissent has unfortunately often taken the form of political satire, hyperbole, parody, or sarcasm,” Shkreli’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said in a letter to the court. “While we do not condone Mr. Shkreli’s comments, his constitutionally-protected political hyperbole does not rise to the level of making him a ‘danger to the community’ when he is not and has never been considered to be a danger.”
Shkreli has indicated he will appeal his August conviction.