Shkreli Defense Opens Securities Trial to Tune of ‘Born This Way’

Jury selection, which started Monday, dragged out until late Wednesday afternoon as the judge sought to find jurors who could ignore the negative press over the price-gouging scandal.The prosecutor argued that Shkreli had “no right to use the Retrophin stock to pay off investors”, but ultimately stole more than $10 million from the public company. After struggling for more than two days to seat a jury, Shkreli’s attorney spoke directly to the Brooklyn native’s reputation as the worst of Wall Street.Brafman said that contrary to the government’s suggestions, the investors in the MSMB funds not only got their original investment amount back, but often much more.The defense hit back, saying that, while Shkreli’s statements to investors weren’t always “100 percent accurate”, investors “were betting on his genius” rather than his words.The ex-boss of Turing Pharmaceuticals stands accused of lying to investors and running a Ponzi-like scheme across multiple firms – and faces 20 years in prison if convicted.”The evidence will prove that the defendant broke the law repeatedly”, said assistant U.S. attorney G. Karthik Srinivasan, according to USA Today.But Brafman portrayed Shkreli as a self-educated scientific boy wonder who slept nights in a sleeping bag in his office as he worked to develop a cure for a deadly disease afflicting children, while at the same time making millions of dollars for his investors. You may have reasons to hate Martin Shkreli, but that is not the basis upon which you can convict Martin Shkreli, ‘ he told the jurors. When the investors lost money, Shkreli allegedly used his own company’s money to repay them. He then siphoned money out of Retrophin to pay off his hedge fund investors, they said.And Retrophin board members, who are also expected to testify, were “thugs” who manipulated Shkreli, he said.On Wednesday morning, Judge Kiyo Matsumoto summoned a new group of some 150 potential jurors after having to excuse dozens Monday and Tuesday, prosecutors said, and the court was able to impanel the jurors and alternates needed to proceed. “I can’t understand why someone would take a medication that people need and jack up the price”. “I would just go over he just stupid or insane?” the potential juror said.His travel is restricted to parts of NY and he surrendered his passport, CNBC reports.He beamed with delight as Brafman, standing at the defence table next to him, listed a series of names that his client had been labeled with over the years, including “Rain Man” and an “odd duck”.”He is probably guilty, and there is no way I can let him slide”, a third potential juror said.While being interviewed by CBS about the death of Harambe, Shkreli crossed himself on live television before going on a three-and-a-half minute rant about why Harambe is so important to him.