Martin Skhreli, who garnered massive hate and outrage for selfishly and needlessly hiking up the price of a life-saving HIV/AIDS drug, is currently on trial for fraud charges. The trial has already been a bit odd — both the prosecution and defense are having trouble finding jurors who don't already have pre-formed opinions on the "Pharma Bro." On Wednesday, things continued bizarrely —Shkreli's lawyer described his client as both "strange" and "weird" while quoting Lady Gaga, according to The Washington Post.
“[Shkreli's investors] used his genius and made millions. . . . Despite his flaws and dysfunctional personality, Martin Shkreli is brilliant beyond words," said attorney Benjamin Brafman.
“Is he strange? Yes. Will you find him weird? Yes ... As Lady Gaga would say: He was born this way,” he added.
Karthik Srinivasan, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District Court in Brooklyn, countered with a different narrative: “Telling lies on top of lies — this is what that man, Martin Shkreli, did for years," said Srinivasan, explaining how Shkreli misled investors about his prior experience and created false performance reports and documents. “He did this by convincing them that he was a Wall Street genius. In reality, he was just a con man.”
“The people who invested . . . are high rollers,” offered Brafman as a retort. “All of these people are worth tens of millions of dollars. They were betting on Martin Shkreli’s genius ... They were not being asked to invest rent money ... You can’t convict him for the people skills he lacked,” he said. “If you want to call him names, call him names — just don’t call him guilty.”
Shkreli could be seen smiling during the arguments. When Brafman concluded, the two hugged.
Shkreli potentially faces up to 20 years in prison for his crimes.
[Photo: Getty Images]
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.