Court struggles to find impartial jurors for trial of ex-pharma CEO Martin Shkreli
Jury selection at the securities fraud trial of a former pharmaceutical CEO notorious for price-gouging hit a rough patch on Tuesday as the court struggled to pick a pool of prospective jurors who could ignore a swirl of bad publicity for the defendant.
A third day of jury selection in Martin Shkreli’s trial was expected on Wednesday with opening statements put off until Thursday morning.
On Tuesday, defense lawyers complained to the judge that news coverage of potential jurors’ negative remarks about him was tainting the process. Under questioning by the judge, one of them had called him “the face of corporate greed,” a reference to his reputation for raising the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent and making no apologies about it.
The judge denied defense requests to start the selection over and ban reporters from listening in on sidebars. She agreed to re-question about 40 people who had already qualified for the pool as a precaution.
The judge excused one prospective juror after he told her that he worked for a media company where he became aware of Shkreli’s use of Twitter to troll his critics.
“I’ve seen some of the defamitory comments he’s made on that platform,” the man said.
Out of earshot of the man, defense attorney Benjamin Brafman told the sidebar: “Unfortunately, the Twitter history is just horrific.”
Shkreli is accusing of lying to investors in a hedge fund he ran, charges unrelated to his drug pricing.