Martin Shkreli Coronavirus Prison Release Blocked By Prosecutors

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Federal prosecutors on Wednesday labeled notorious pharmaceutical fraudster Martin Shkreli “delusional” and greedy as they opposed his attempt to get early release from prison to avoid catching the coronavirus at the same time and work on a potential remedy.

These prosecutors despised Shkreli in a court case that wondered if he even had the scientific skills to develop a possible Covid-19 treatment if he were to be suspended to serve the remaining 40 months of his seven-year sentence. jail.

Prosecutors cited a report on Shkreli released this week by US probation officials.

“As Probation observed, Shkreli’s belief that he can develop a cure for COVID-19, something that has so far eluded the best medical and scientific minds in the world working around the clock, is not not just a practice in wild and completely unfounded speculation. , but is indicative of the same delusional self-magnification behavior that underlies the accused’s conduct in the commission of “” the crimes that led him to prison, prosecutors wrote.

Prosecutors mocked the idea that the 37-year-old was motivated by altruism, rather than thirst for more money, in his desire to be free to continue this work.

“Even if Shkreli was able to develop a potential remedy, there is no evidence that he would in fact use it to” contribute to the betterment of society “, as he claims rather than to enrich himself in any whenever possible, “said prosecutors. wrote, citing the probation report, in their case at the US District Court in Brooklyn, New York.

They said that if Shkreli developed a remedy, he risked “hiding his work or refusing to provide such a remedy to others unless he was paid an exorbitant amount”.

“As the evidence at trial showed, Shkreli’s involvement in the search for a cure was mainly driven by the possibility of huge profits,” wrote assistant US attorneys Jacquelyn Kasulis and Alixandra Smith, who pursued him during his trial in 2017.

Prosecutors noted that Shkreli had increased the price of the Daraprim parasitic infection drug by more than 5,000% in 2015, an act that caused him national infamy.

The case came in response to Shkreli’s request last week to judge Kiyo Matsumoto to grant him “compassionate release” to allow him to serve the remainder of his sentence for securities fraud in house arrest with his fiancĂ© unidentified in Manhattan.

Shkreli’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman, when asked for comments on the new prosecutors’ file, wrote in an email: “I was hoping for a more compassionate response. Brafman noted that he had “often said that, left alone in a laboratory, he could find a cure for cancer.” “

Three “months in a laboratory under strict conditions trying to find a cure for Covid 19 seems to be a no-brainer,” added the lawyer.

Brafman and other lawyers said in their files last week that Shkreli, now locked in a federal low-security prison in Pennsylvania, has “susceptibility to infection”. [from the coronavirus] due to allergies and asthma. “

Defense attorneys said Shkreli “had conducted significant research into the development of molecules to inhibit the Coronavirus RdRP protein and that he would continue to do so if released,” the court file said.

Shkreli, “since learning about this deadly disease,” has spent “countless hours” researching possible treatments, the file says. “A company is ready to start work on clinical trials of Mr. Shkreli’s work in a few weeks,” the defense lawyers wrote.

But federal prosecutors on their own file have said that Matsumoto should not even consider Shkreli’s request now because he has not exhausted his administrative remedies when the Federal Prisons Office denied his request for early release. Shkreli’s appeal against this refusal is still pending.

Prosecutors also said that Shkreli is in good health, with no documented underlying medical conditions, and is in a facility that has no cases of coronavirus among inmates or staff.

Their records indicate that Shkreli’s request last week belies the need to release him so that he can continue his research on a treatment for coronaviruses.

Even if Matsumoto is prepared to consider his request for release, the prosecutors wrote that “he does not authorize the Court to conclude that such an alleged plan is a basis for release, or how he distinguishes it from any other accused who claims that society would be better if he were released because he allegedly devoted himself to improving it. “

“Shkreli has no formal scientific training and no work experience [in] a laboratory, and he doesn’t explain why he cannot continue to develop and discuss ideas he may have about prison COVID-19, as he has done, “the prosecutors wrote.

And prosecutors noted his lack of shame in raising the price of Daraprim, which is often used to treat pregnant women, babies and people living with HIV, from $ 13.50 a pill to $ 750 a pill.

“In December 2015, at the Forbes Healthcare Summit, Shkreli was asked if he would have done something different regarding the increase in the drug Daraprim after receiving significant negative publicity, and he replied:” I would probably have increased the price probably what I would have done. “

“There is no evidence that Shkreli has changed in this regard, or in any other respect,” the prosecutors wrote.

Prosecutors, citing the probation report, said that Shkreli “had committed several disciplinary violations” since his detention after his conviction in mid-2017.

These violations include the absence of a prison assignment, the denial of a job or program assignment, the sending of mail to another inmate without permission, and the solicitation of funds by mail and a phone call that was forwarded to another detainee, prosecutors said.

“Shkreli continues to believe that the rules do not apply to him,” the prosecutor wrote.

“Reducing Shkreli’s sentence to less than half of what he was sentenced to serve would in no way be justified, but it is a particularly inappropriate light for this fault. “

Shkreli was convicted at trial by the Brooklyn Federal Court of securities fraud and conspiracy.

Prosecutors during the case presented evidence that he had repeatedly lied to investors about the financial performance of two hedge funds he managed, and then used the money invested in these funds, without the knowledge of its investors, to help it start its first pharmaceutical company, Retrophin.

Shkreli’s efforts to quash his conviction on appeal have been exhausted.

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