Martin Shkreli has been jailed after having his bail revoked over allegedly threatening comments made about Hillary Clinton on social media.
The so-called ‘Pharma Bro’ – once dubbed the “most hated man in America” – was convicted of fraud last month but released on a $5 million bail while awaiting sentencing.
Now, as the Washington Post reports, Shkreli has been sent to jail after calling on his followers to “obtain” a hair from Hillary Clinton’s head for $5,000. Shkreli had written on Facebook: “The Clinton Foundation is willing to KILL to protect its secrets. So on HRC’s book tour, try to grab a hair from her. I must confirm the sequences I have. Will pay $5,000 per hair obtained from Hillary Clinton.”
A federal judge told Shkreli on Wednesday (September 13) that his post had been “a solicitation of assault”, adding: “That is not protected by the First Amendment… The fact that he continues to remain unaware of the inappropriateness of his actions or words demonstrates to me that he may be creating ongoing risk to the community.”
“What is funny about that,” asked US District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto of Shkreli’s post. “He doesn’t know who his followers are. He doesn’t know if someone it going to take his offer seriously… He is soliciting an assault on another person for $5,000.”
Prosecutors had argued that Shkreli had already shown an “escalating pattern of violence against women that is incredibly disturbing”, continuing: “It is clear that he is reckless. He knew exactly what he was doing. He has to go in… He doesn’t respect the rule of law.” Shkreli was banned from Twitter in January for harassing a female journalist.
Prosecutors also noted how the Secret Service had sought for an interview with Shkreli over his post. After Shkreli wrote an apology to the court, saying: “I am not a violent person”, Judge Matsumoto commented: “He doesn’t have to apologise to me. He should apologise to the government, the Secret Service and Hillary Clinton.”
Shkreli’s attorney Benjamin Brafman had argued that his client “did not intend to cause harm” with his post and that “being inappropriate does not make you a danger to the community.” Brafman added: “He says things that are stupid. I don’t think stupid makes you violent.” Shkreli’s lawyers also compared his comments to Kathy Griffin’s comedy and President Trump’s “political hyperbole”. “He did not hold up the severed head of the president of the United States like Kathy Griffin,” Brafman said.
Shkreli faces up to 20 years in prison after being found guilty on three counts of fraud. His sentencing will take place on January 16.
Meanwhile, Shkreli has been trying to sell the one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album he purchased for $2 million on Ebay. Bidding is currently at just over a million after 300-plus bids.