A judge ordered Martin Shkreli not discuss his ongoing trial in and around the courthouse. So the so-called 'Pharma Bro' turned to social media. USA TODAY
File photo taken in June 2017 shows 'Pharmacy Bro' Martin Shkreli arriving at Brooklyn federal court with lawyer Ben Brafman for jury selection.(Photo: Robert Deutsch, USAT)
NEW YORK — So-called "Pharmacy Bro" Martin Shkreli gets to vent his views on Facebook Live for at least another 2½ days.
Jurors are set to begin weighing his fate on criminal fraud charges on Monday after a prosecutor ended closing legal arguments by telling jurors that Shkreli mistakenly calculated he was "above the law."
The panel of seven women and five men opted to postpone deliberations through the weekend in a decision around 3:40 p.m. ET Friday in Brooklyn federal court after U.S. District Court Judge Kiyo Matsumoto gave them final instructions on the law.
Capping evidence presentation and legal arguments in the four-week proceeding, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis told jurors the defense fed them a "fairy tale" portrait of Shkreli as a hyper-intelligent healthcare industry entrepreneur who never knowingly deceived investors in his companies.
In response, Kasulis repeated Shkreli's blunt email response when an attorney warned that acquiring shares in one of the companies at below-market prices could raise legal problems: "f that."
“It’s time, time for Martin Shkreli to be held responsible for his choices. His choices to lie, deceive and steal,” said Kasulis. "The last four weeks have exposed Martin Shkreli for who he really is — a con man, who stole millions of dollars."
The government had the final word after defense attorney Benjamin Brafman ended his closing arguments by reminding jurors that all of Shkreli's investors ultimately made money, thanks to the 34-year-old New Yorker's efforts.
“Who lost anything? Nobody,” Brafman said,
Criticizing the prosecution case as a mixture of theories and erroneous legal arguments, he said: "They cannot throw stuff against the wall and hope some of it sticks.” “It’s really that simple.”
Martin Shkreli is the former CEO of the biotech firm Retrophin as well as the founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals AG. He's currently involved in a five-to-six week trial for being accused of defrauding investors of two hedge funds. Newslook
Shkreli sat at rapt attention for much of Brafman's argument, He periodically looked down toward the defense table and fidgeted with his hair as Kasulis spoke.
The frequent social media presence opted not to testify in his own defense, avoiding being questioned by prosecutors. However, he vented against the Department of Justice in a Facebook posting Thursday that referred to President Trump and his campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again."
"My case is a silly witch hunt perpetrated by self-serving prosecutors. Thankfully my amazing attorney sent them back to junior varsity where they belong," wrote Shkreli. "Drain the swamp. Drain the sewer that is the DOJ. MAGA."
In a separate Facebook Live video appearance Thursday, Shkreli referred to jurors as he told fans: "I give them about 20 minutes before they free the boy."
He also used the video to resume his online references to Lauren Duca, a freelance journalist who wrote a TeenVogue opinion piece that was critical of Trump and drew his attention. Twitter suspended his account after Duca complained he had harassed her.
"Trial's over tomorrow, b------. And if I'm acquitted, I get to f--- Lauren Duca," said Shkreli, calling it "just my fantasy."
In response, Duca tweeted: "So much as touch me, and I'll gladly chop off one of yours."
Apart from Twitter and Facebook, Shkreli gained national notoriety in 2015 as the Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO who imposed a 5000% price hike on a medication used to treat a parasitic disease that typically strikes those with the HIV virus and others with weakened immune systems.
But the case against him instead focuses on allegations Shkreli defrauded investors in two health care-focused hedge funds by failing to disclose his role in a disastrous previous business and lying about the funds' financial performance.
He then allegedly looted Retrophin, another pharmaceutical company he founded, to repay the burned investors, according to the eight-count fraud and conspiracy indictment in the case.
Shkreli faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Along with the no-harm-no-foul contention about Shkreli's generally wealthy investors, the defense strategy has focused on what Brafman said was the businessman's unshaken belief in what he said and did for those who trusted him with their money.
“There is no rich person exception to the law. That’s insulting,” argued Kasulis.
As for the question of Shkreli's intent, Kasulis told jurors "The judge will instruct you that a belief that everything will work out “does not excuse fraud under the law.”
As predicted, Matsumoto did.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kevin McCoy on Twitter: @kmccoynyc