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Prosecutors Struggle to Find Jurors Who Don't Already Hate Martin Shkreli

28 June 2017, 05:22 | Brian Mcdaniel

Prosecutors Struggle to Find Jurors Who Don't Already Hate Martin Shkreli

Martin Shkreli defies advice to keep quiet before his fraud trial

Jury selection at the securities fraud trial of former pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli has hit a rough patch.

During questioning Monday, several potential jurors said they couldn't ignore Shkreli's reputation for raising the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent.

More than a dozen people were dismissed from jury service Monday including a woman who called Shkreli "an evil man", and another who said she knew he'd been labeled "the most hated man in America". "They're struggling to pay" for their daily medical routine.

"I'm anticipating an article, a piece, that will further complicate the already complicated job of defending someone people feel so strongly about", Shkreli's attorney Ben Brafman said.

Several jurors expressed anger at Shkreli's background in pharmaceuticals, though the charges leveled against him are for financial fraud in a different industry.

Many jurors seemed to see Shkreli as "the face of corporate greed in America", as one man said.

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Shkreli, who has made a multitude of headlines over the last two years for jacking up the price of a pharmaceutical by more than 5000% and then acting like a huge jerk about it, is apparently known and despised by the majority of Americans.

A second man said, "This is the price gouger of drugs". Outrage over that unrelated move spilled into the courtroom today and stands to slow progress of the fraud trial. "I looked right at him, and in my head, I said, "That's a snake" - not knowing who he was", the woman said.

Further, the man said, he has several friends with H.I.V. or AIDS - people who may use Daraprim for infections - who can not afford their drugs.

Shkreli's attorney Benjamin Brafman said he had objected to reporters being allowed at sidebar because of negative opinions prospective jurors might have about his client. One by one, potential jurors huddled with the judge and the lawyers, WCBS 880's Peter Haskell reported.

Other potential jurors had bad reactions to Mr. Shkreli himself. Many were excused because of work, vacation and other engagements.

Jury selection in the trial of Martin Shkreli is proving tricky, as the notoriety of "Pharma Bro" precedes him.

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