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I Paid Back Investors I Might Have Ripped Off

“Pharma bro” Martin Shkreli is all set to face a jury of his peers in downtown Brooklyn next week.

A judge heard arguments on all outstanding pre-trial questions relating to Shkreli’s securities fraud case on Monday, including whether to allow prosecutors to introduce a letter in which he threatens an investor’s wife, before ordering lawyers and Shkreli to arrive at 9 a.m. next Monday for jury selection. The trial is expected to last five to six weeks, and Shkreli faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Shkreli is infamous for his pharmaceutical company’s decision to buy the manufacturer of a life-saving drug, then raising the price from $13.50 per dosage to $750. That’s not what landed him in legal trouble though: Two months after he jacked up the drug’s price, he was indicted for allegedly ripping off investors, and then defrauding his other company to pay them back. But his $4 million defense team suggested Monday that they may argue that Shkreli caused the investors no harm by later compensating them.

“This defendant, whatever he did wrong [to the investors], ultimately made them whole,” Shkreli’s attorney said.

Benjamin Brafman also pleaded with the judge to lessen Shkreli’s bail amount so that he can help pay for trial expenses, adding that it is “cruel and unusual” to make lawyers pay for photocopies and transcripts out of pocket while Shkreli’s bail sits.

But lowering Shkreli’s bail to a still-substantive sum of $2 million, from $5 million, would let him help pay for trial expenses and begin to pay back the IRS, Brafman argued. And he admitted that his Shkreli’s decision to waste $2 million on a single-copy Wu Tang Clan album was “maybe absurd.”

“Our concern is that the defendant is using this as a means to pick and choose which creditors he wants to pay,” prosecutor Alixandra Smith countered, noting that Shkreli has outstanding tax liens as well as other creditors.

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