Brooklyn Boro

Shkreli’s lawyer says investors were experts who knew the risk

July 28, 2017 By Paul Frangipane Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Martin Shkreli, left, and his lawyer Benjamin Brafman listen to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis deliver her rebuttal in federal court. Court sketch by Shirley Shepard
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After prosecutors labeled “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli a compulsive liar in closing statements of his securities fraud trial, Shkreli’s lawyer told jurors Friday that the allegedly misled investors were hedge fund experts who knew the risk of investing.

“These are expert investors,” Shkreli’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman said in closing statements. “There was nothing about what Martin said that caused them to invest.”

While Shkreli, 34, is best known for increasing the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent and trolling his critics online, his federal court trial centers around two hedge funds he ran.

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Shkreli is accused of lying about hedge fund MSMB Capital’s finances to entice investors, while hiding trading losses from them and paying them back with stolen money from his company Retrophin.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis urged jurors to use their common sense and not be distracted by Brafman.

“There’s an avalanche of evidence in this case,” Kasulis said. “Lying to people to get them to invest in you is fraud.”

Brafman argued that the investors, one who reportedly invested in 50-100 hedge funds, eventually got paid and some got richer because of the investments.

Brafman said Shkreli was tirelessly building the company while investors were hounding him for their money.

“It doesn’t matter if you pay people back years later if you’ve stolen their money,” Kasulis said in rebuttal.

Shkreli allegedly boasted his credentials to investors, saying that he graduated from Columbia University. Although he can be seen often sporting Columbia T-shirts, he graduated from Baruch College of the City University of New York.

Brafman said Shkreli has a “special” personality, but is a genius.

“When you deliver a verdict of guilty, that’s forever,” Brafman told jurors. “I hope the last words are, ‘Not guilty.’”

Jury deliberations could be delivered late Friday.

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