CEO Who Raised Drug Prices 5,000 Percent Had Difficulty Seating Impartial Jury Transcript Reveals
Martin Shkreli’s lawyers reportedly had to interview more than 250 prospective jurors before agreeing on 12. At the time, media reports hinted at some of the funnier reasons given by prospective jurors to get out of serving (one individual said he was biased against Shkreli because he had “disrespected the Wu Tang Clan”). Ultimately, the jury found the former hedge fund manager and pharmaceutical company CEO guilty on three out of eight counts of fraud.
Now, Harper’s Magazine has published transcripts from the Voir Dire hearings. The transcripts offer insight into how the trial of “the most hated man in America” came together. In most cases, the prospective juror offers some version of “he’s terrible” and is promptly excused.
When asked if he was aware of the defendant, one juror said yes and “I hate him,” before calling Shkreli “a greedy little man.”
“The court: The purpose of jury selection is to ensure fairness and impartiality in this case. If you think that you could not be fair and impartial, it is your duty to tell me. All right. Juror Number 1.
Juror no. 1: I’m aware of the defendant and I hate him.
Benjamin Brafman: I’m sorry.
Juror no. 1: I think he’s a greedy little man.
The court: Jurors are obligated to decide the case based only on the evidence. Do you agree?
Juror no. 1: I don’t know if I could. I wouldn’t want me on this jury.
The court: Juror Number 1 is excused. Juror Number 18.”
One guy said he felt biased against Shkreli as soon as he saw his face.
“Juror no. 40: I’m taking prescription medication. I would be upset if it went up by a thousand percent. I saw the testimony on TV to Congress and I saw his face on the news last night. By the time I came in and sat down and he turned around, I felt immediately I was biased.
The court: Sir, we are going to excuse you. Juror Number 47, please come up.”
Another juror equated Shkreli with Bernie Madoff who, let’s remember, stole $70 billion from his clients.
“Juror no. 47: He’s the most hated man in America. In my opinion, he equates with Bernie Madoff with the drugs for pregnant women going from $15 to $750. My parents are in their eighties. They’re struggling to pay for their medication. My mother was telling me yesterday how my father’s cancer drug is $9,000 a month.
The court: The case is going to come before you on evidence that you must consider fairly and with an open mind.
Juror no. 47: I would find that difficult.
The court: And that’s based on your parents’ experience with medication?
Juror no. 47: It’s based on people working very hard for their money. He defrauded his company and his investors, and that’s not right.
The court: Ma’am, we’re going to excuse you. Juror Number 52, how are you?”
One guy said he didn’t know who Shkreli was, but after taking one look at him said he looks like a “snake.”
“Juror no. 52: When I walked in here today I looked at him, and in my head, that’s a snake — not knowing who he was. I just walked in and looked right at him and that’s a snake.
Brafman: So much for the presumption of innocence.
The court: We will excuse Juror Number 52. Juror Number 67?”
One prospective juror said he’d “never be able to forget” how Shkreli raised the price of Daraprim.
“Juror no. 67: The fact that he raised the price of that AIDS medication, like, such an amount of money disgusts me. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget that. Who does that, puts profit and self-interest ahead of anything else? So it’s not a far stretch that he could do what he’s accused of.
The court: Please go to the jury room and tell them you have been excused. Juror Number 70.”
One person described Shkreli as “the face of corporate greed in America,” and that he’d need to be convinced of his innocence because he assumes Shkreli is guilty.
“Juror no. 77: From everything I’ve seen on the news, everything I’ve read, I believe the defendant is the face of corporate greed in America.
Brafman: We would object.
Juror no. 77: You’d have to convince me he was innocent rather than guilty.
The court: I will excuse this juror. Hello, Juror Number 125.”
Juror number 144 said Shkreli “looks like a dick.”
“Juror no. 144: I heard through the news of how the defendant changed the price of a pill by up-selling it. I heard he bought an album from the Wu-Tang Clan for a million dollars.
The court: The question is, have you heard anything that would affect your ability to decide this case with an open mind. Can you do that?
Juror no. 144: I don’t think I can because he kind of looks like a dick.
The court: You are Juror Number 144 and we will excuse you. Come forward, Juror Number 155.”
One juror said he couldn’t understand whether Shkreli was stupid, or just greedy.
“Juror no. 28: I don’t like this person at all. I just can’t understand why he would be so stupid as to take an antibiotic which H.I.V. people need and jack it up five thousand percent. I would honestly, like, seriously like to go over there.
The court: Sir, thank you.
Juror no. 28: Is he stupid or greedy? I can’t understand.
The court: We will excuse you. Juror 41, are you coming up?”
Shkreli is totally guilty, another juror said…and he disrespected the Wu Tang Clan.
“Juror no. 59: Your Honor, totally he is guilty and in no way can I let him slide out of anything because…
The court: All right. We are going to excuse you, sir.
Juror no. 59: And he disrespected the Wu-Tang Clan.”
While no date has been set, Shkreli is expected to be sentenced by federal judge Kiya Matsumoto some time during the coming months. Though Shkreli said on one of his post-trial livestreams that he expects to only serve a few months, possibly under house arrest. But legal experts believe that the sentencing is when Shkreli’s past demons will come back to haunt him in the form of a lengthy stay in federal prison. He could also be on the hook for millions of dollars in fines. After all, Shkreli has mocked not only the Brooklyn prosecutors who tried him, but members of Congress. It wouldn’t exactly look like a prosecutorial victory if they just let him walk away.