Convicted ‘Pharma Bro’ has an image problem, lawyer concedes

Seth Wenig, Associated Press

Martin Shkreli stands with his attorneys as they talk to reporters in front of federal court in New York, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. The former pharmaceutical CEO has been convicted on federal charges he deceived investors in a pair of failed hedge funds. A Brooklyn jury deliberated five days before finding Shkreli guilty on Friday on three of eight counts.

NEW YORK — Martin Shkreli, the eccentric former pharmaceutical CEO notorious for a price-gouging scandal and for his snide “Pharma Bro” persona on social media, was convicted Friday on federal charges he deceived investors in a pair of failed hedge funds.

A Brooklyn jury deliberated five days before finding Shkreli guilty on three of eight counts. He had been charged with securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Shkreli, upbeat and defiant outside court afterward, called his prosecution “a witch hunt of epic proportions” but conceded that maybe the government had found “one or two broomsticks.”

Asked about his client’s social-media antics, attorney Ben Brafman conceded it was something they would be working on.

“There is an image issue that Martin and I are going to be discussing in the next few days,” he said, adding that while Shkreli was a brilliant mind, sometimes his “people skills” need work. As he spoke, Shkreli smiled and cocked his head quizzically in mock confusion.

Brafman predicted that Shkreli would someday go on to develop cures to terrible diseases that afflict children.

Prosecutors had accused Shkreli of repeatedly misleading investors about what he was doing with their money. Mostly, he was blowing it with horrible stock picks, forcing him to cook up a scheme to recover millions in losses, they said.

Shkreli, 34, told “lies upon lies,” including claiming he had $40 million in one of his funds at a time when it only had about $300 in the bank, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alixandra Smith said in closing arguments. The trial “has…

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