Jury selection continues in trial of ‘most hated man in America’

NEW YORK (AP/CNN) – Several prospective jurors have been excused from the federal securities fraud trial of an ex-pharmaceutical company executive because they claimed they couldn’t be impartial.

Jury selection will continue Tuesday morning in Brooklyn.

During jury questioning Monday, several potential jurors said they couldn’t ignore Martin Shkreli’s reputation for raising the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent. One of them called him “the face of corporate greed.” Another said he’s “the most hated man in America.”

The 34-year-old Shkreli was arrested last year on conspiracy and other charges unrelated to the price-gouging scandal. Since then, he’s defied his lawyers’ advice to lay low by using social media to boast about his accomplishments and troll his critics.

The defense has accused the media of vilifying him.

Shkreli sparked outrage in 2015 for increasing the price of Daraprim, a drug used by AIDS patients, by more than 5,000% from $13.50 to $750 a pill while he was CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals.

But that controversy has nothing to do with his criminal trial, set to begin on June 26 in federal court in New York.

Shkreli faces charges of securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy for allegedly cheating investors out of more than $11 million between 2009 and 2014 in what federal prosecutors called a “Ponzi scheme.”

Shkreli is accused of mismanaging money at his investment funds Elea Capital, MSMB Capital, MSMB Healthcare, as well as while CEO of Retrophin (RTRX), the pharmaceutical company he founded in 2011.

Prosecutors say Shkreli lied to investors at MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare about the performance and assets of the investment funds and used money from Retrophin to pay off MSMB investors as well as Shkreli’s personal loans and other debts.

A former lawyer for Retrophin, Evan Greebel, is charged with helping in the allegedly fraudulent activity. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Shkreli, 34, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. He resigned from Turing after his arrest in 2015.

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