It takes a great deal for me to feel sympathy of Martin Shkreli, but the recent filing by the Justice Department has me wondering if he is not being treated unfairly due to this infamous reputation. The DOJ has asked for Shkreli’s bail to be revoked because he offered to pay anyone $5000 for a hair of Hillary Clinton. It was a stupid posting that Shkreli later said was “satire” but the DOJ insists that it makes him a danger to society. I do not agree. What it does (as with so much of the statements and conduct of Shkreli) is undermine his case before the Court. Indeed, in addressing any fine, the court could take that view that (if Shkreli views a hair worth $5000 of his money) the sky is the limit for a truly impactful fine.
While Shkreli gained infamy as a pharmaceutical executive due to his obscene price increase for the drug Daraprim, was actually convicted in August of three of eight fraud counts related to hedge funds he ran. He is free on a $5 million bail.
On Monday, Shkreli posted the following: “On HRC’s book tour, try to grab a hair from her,” Mr. Shkreli wrote, referring to Mrs. Clinton, who has a book scheduled to come out next week. “Will pay $5,000 per hair obtained from Hillary Clinton.” A few hours later, he said it was “satire” and, after speaking with his counsel, he proceeded to delete the posting.
Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto will hold a Sept. 14 hearing on the government’s motion. The DOJ argued that the posting shows that Shkreli, 34, is “a risk of danger to the community” and that there is a real chance that his followers will “take his statements seriously — as has happened previously — and act on them.”
The DOJ says that the posting encourages a criminal act and the Secret Service (which protects Clinton) has tried to interview him.
I do not see how a satiric posting qualifies as a bail violation, particularly after his later posting saying it was satire and then deleting the post.
Facing as much as 20 years in prison, Shkreli is toying with a court that holds his future in its hands. Yet, he seems incapable of controlling himself. Even after the motion, Shkreli decided it would be fun to taunt the prosecutors:
“Lol Hillary Clinton’s presumptive agents are hard at work. It was just a prank, bro!” . . . “Come at me with your hardest because I haven’t seen anything impressive yet.”
Yes, and this is a bail revocation hearing, Bro.