“Pharma Bro” just won’t keep his mouth shut.
Even with his federal securities fraud trial set to begin Monday, Martin Shkreli has blatantly defied his attorneys’ advice to lay low. The former pharmaceutical CEO, who became a pariah after raising the cost of a life-saving drug 5,000 percent, has been preening for cameras and trolling on social media, potentially complicating his defense.
“I’m excited,” Shkreli said of the trial in a brief phone call last week to The Associated Press. “I can’t wait.”
Since his high-profile arrest in late 2015 when he was led into court in a gray hoodie, Shkreli has been free on bail and free to speak his mind. He went on Twitter to label members of Congress “imbeciles” for demanding to know why his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of Daraprim, a drug used to treat toxoplasmosis and HIV, from $13.50 to $750 per pill.
He took to YouTube for a series of lessons on chemistry and stock market analysis. His Twitter posts mocking a freelance journalist turned so creepy — one showed a fake photo of him canoodling with her — that his account was shut down. And on Facebook, he mused about the possibility of being “unjustly imprisoned.”
The 34-year-old Shkreli “travels to the beat of a very unique drummer,” exasperated-sounding defense attorney Benjamin Brafman said at a pretrial hearing this month.
Legal experts say there are obvious reasons lawyers want clients facing serious criminal charges to keep quiet.
“It’s twofold: You don’t want to antagonize the judge and you don’t want to get the attention of the jury in a way that hurts your case,” said veteran New York City defense attorney Gerald Lefcourt.
Columbia law professor John Coffee compared the situation to President Donald Trump’s unruly tweeting habits. “A lawyer can caution him,” he said. “But just like Trump, he doesn’t have to listen.”
Though Shkreli’s notoriety came from Daraprim, the federal securities fraud case is unrelated. Prosecutors say…