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Who is Martin Shkreli?

Who is Martin Shkreli?

Dallas billionaire Darren Blanton is among several investors who may testify in the federal case against Martin Shkreli, a hip-hop loving pharmaceutical executive who drew ire when he suddenly raised the price of a life-saving HIV drug by 5,000 percent. He pushed the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill, making it unaffordable for numerous pregnant women, babies and other people infected with HIV who primarily use the drug.

Shkreli stands accused of cheating investors out of more than $11 million in what is being described by federal prosecutors as a "Ponzi scheme". While most were excused for issues unrelated to Shkreli, many of those who were aware of the so-called "pharma bro" did nothing to hide their disdain.

Defense attorneys argue that all of the investors were repaid, and thus Shkreli made reparations to the situation. He resigned from Turing after being arrested in December 2015 for the alleged security fraud. "Everybody got paid back in this case", his lawyer said, according to The Associated Press.

He turned up to court on Monday June 26, but he couldn't resist poking the bear ahead of his trial. Shkreli, tieless, in a dress shirt and light grey suit, sat alone at the defense table, occasionally playing with his hair and chewing on a pen, while the judge considered the would-be jurors' potential biases.

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Prosecutors also used his boasts about some of his purchases of eccentric collectibles to undermine efforts to reduce his bail from $5 million to $2 million. His ownership stake in Turing Pharmaceutics, which hiked the price of the drug Daraprim, is worth $30 million to $50 million, but his lawyer says the he can'tsell it without shareholder approval. He also offered $40,000 for a math proof and $100,000 for tips on the killing of DNC staffer Seth Rich.

"I'm so innocent, the jury, judge and the prosecution are gonna give me an apology", Shkreli predicted in a video he posted on the internet ahead of the trial, which has since been taken down.

Still, his notoriety slowed the pace of the first day of jury selection in federal court in downtown Brooklyn. Both have pleaded not guilty.

One woman, who pretended to wring Shkreli's neck, said, "I honestly don't think I could be impartial". I walk down the streets of NY and people shake my hand.


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