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‘Shocked’ NYC judge orders ex-pharma exec Shkreli to ‘stop talking’

Doug G. Ware
United Press International

NEW YORK (UPI) — The first gag order given to former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli at his New York City fraud trial apparently wasn’t enough.

A federal judge at Shkreli’s proceedings on Wednesday issued a revised gag order against the controversial figure — in response to a fiery public rant he made last week and a number of postings on what could be his new Twitter account.

Martin Shkreli arrives at the United States Federal courthouse in New York City last month. Wednesday, a federal judge in the case ordered the former pharmaceutical executive to stop talking about the case in public. (Photo by John Angelillo/UPI)

Shkreli, former head of Turing Pharmaceuticals, is facing trial on federal securities fraud charges that stem from activities between 2009 and 2014. Specifically, prosecutors say Shkreli violated federal law when he managed two hedge funds and swindled investors.

The former Turing CEO has been vocal in the past about the case. Friday, he mounted a five-minute spiel to members of the press outside of the New York City courthouse — an act that surprised Matsumoto, due to its potential influence on jurors.

“I was shocked that there were these comments, these statements,” Judge Kiyo Matsumoto said Wednesday, referring to Shkreli’s outbursts. “There’s a great risk jurors will be exposed.”

Matsumoto also noted that Shkreli isn’t helping his case with his protracted remarks.

“All your client has to do is stop talking in the courthouse and around the perimeter of the courthouse,” the judge said of the new gag order. “This isn’t going to help Mr. Shkreli in the end.

“I would like to so order the agreement that he will not make comments in the courthouse about the evidence and the witnesses and this also includes the perimeter roads. … I think it’s inappropriate and that all the work we’ve done to select 18 men and women to sit on the jury would be jeopardized if he continued to do this.”

“There will be no more commenting by Mr. Shkreli,” defense attorney Benjamin Brafman replied.

Also Wednesday, prosecutors said they have been approached multiple times by Shkreli’s team concerning a possible plea agreement — a claim that was flatly renounced by Brafman.

According to the attorney, Shkreli has said, “I would never plead guilty to something I did not do. … We are going to trial.”

Shkreli has been a controversial public figure in the last two years — beginning with Turing’s 2015 decision to increase the price of an AIDS medication, daraprim, by $700 per tablet.

Shkreli’s Twitter account was suspended earlier this year after an online altercation with a news reporter, but prosecutors said this week they suspect he created a new account and had been tweeting with it about the case. That account, too, has since been shut down by Twitter.

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‘Shocked’ NYC judge orders ex-pharma exec Shkreli to ‘stop talking’