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New lawyer silences bad-boy ex-pharma CEO Martin Shkreli

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli, center, left court with his lawyer Benjamin Brafman, left, today, in New York. Shkreli, who has become the poster child of pharmaceutical-industry greed after hiking the price of an anti-infection drug by more than 5,000 percent, is scheduled to appear at a congressional hearing on Thursday.

NEW YORK » Bad-boy ex-pharmaceutical company CEO and prolific social media user Martin Shkreli has been muzzled.

A new lawyer in a federal securities fraud case against Shkreli told reporters outside court today that his client would stop speaking out in his own defense until the charges are resolved.

“We want to try this case in the courtroom and not in the media,” defense attorney Benjamin Brafman said with a silent Shkreli at his side following a pretrial hearing in Brooklyn.

Shkreli, 32, gained notoriety last year after a drug company he founded, Turing Pharmaceuticals, spent $55 million for the U.S. rights to sell a life-saving medicine called Daraprim and promptly raised the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill.

The spotlight intensified last year when he was arrested on charges related to a hedge fund he once ran. Prosecutors allege that after he lost investors’ money through bad trades, he looted Retrophin, another pharmaceutical company where he was CEO, for $11 million to pay back his disgruntled clients.

Since the arrest, Shkreli has frequently turned to social media and news outlets to lash out at his accusers. In a TV interview this week about his expected appearance before a congressional committee investigating the price of drugs, he said he’d like to “berate” and “insult” Congress — but instead will take the Fifth Amendment.

A prosecutor today told the judge that the value of a brokerage account used to secure Shkreli’s release on $5 million bond — mostly invested in a biotech business once operated by Shkreli — had declined, and that more collateral may be needed if it goes down any further. Brafman said it wasn’t surprising the account took a hit.

“There’s nothing like an indictment to affect shares of stock,” he said.

Shkreli’s other assets most notably include the only copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album titled “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” which the hip-hop group sold on the condition that it not be released publicly. He said he paid $2 million for it.

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