NEW YORK – Martin Shkreli’s big mouth landed him in jail even before his fraud conviction did.
A U.S. judge revoked the pharmaceutical executive’s bail Wednesday, ordering him jailed immediately, over a bounty Shkreli issued in a Facebook post for a strand of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s hair.
Shkreli has shown he poses a danger to the community, said U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto in Brooklyn, New York. He was taken away in handcuffs.
Shkreli, 34, was convicted last month of three of eight charges, including two counts of securities fraud. He was acquitted of fraud charges related to the alleged looting of the drug company he founded, Retrophin Inc. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on each of the securities fraud charges, though he’s likely to get a lesser term.
Shkreli’s been free on bail while he awaits sentencing, though no date has been set.
The conviction and pending sentencing hasn’t tamed the brash executive known as Pharma Bro. And a now-deleted Facebook posting in which he offered his followers $5,000 for a strand of Clinton’s hair during her book tour caught the attention of prosecutors. They asked Matsumoto to revoke Shkreli’s bail and throw him in jail because his threats create a risk of danger to the community.
Shkreli appears to have violated state and federal laws prohibiting threats against the immediate family members of former presidents, the prosecutors argued. The comments prompted the U.S. Secret Service to start an investigation and boost security for Clinton, they said.
Shkreli has a history of making provocative comments against specific women, the prosecutors said.
He was banned from Twitter in January for harassing a Teen Vogue writer and persisted in verbally badgering women online.
Shkreli responded to the government’s request with a profanity in a Facebook post, adding: “I will never kiss their ring or snitch. Come at me with your hardest because I haven’t seen anything impressive yet.”
He quickly backed off, writing an apologetic letter to the judge in a request to remain out on bail.
“Some may have read my comments about Mrs. Clinton as threatening, which was never my intention,” Shkreli wrote. “I used poor judgment but never intended to cause alarm or promote any act of violence whatsoever.”
Shkreli’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, argued his client was merely voicing his views and called his comments “political hyperbole” covered by the First Amendment.
The case is U.S. v. Shkreli, 15-cr-637, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).
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