Drug company executive Martin Shkreli (also known as “Pharma Bro”), who rose to fame for the despicable act of jacking up the price of a drug used for an HIV-related condition by 5,000 percent, was out on $5 million bail while awaiting sentencing on a securities fraud conviction — but that has now changed, as a federal judge has revoked bail and jailed him for a Facebook post in which Shkreli offered $5,000 to his followers to grab a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair during her book tour.
"The Clinton Foundation is willing to KILL to protect its secrets. So on HRC's book tour, try to grab a hair from her... Will pay $5,000 per hair obtained,” Shkreli wrote in a post that landed the Secret Service at his door.
Although Shrkeli apologized for his post in a Monday letter to U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto in Brooklyn, writing that he had “used poor judgment,” the judge determined after an hour-long hearing Wednesday that Shrkeli posed a danger to the public, Reuters reports. And the “Pharma Bro,” who was jailed by federal prosecutors Thursday, will be in a maximum-security prison until his sentencing hearing in January.
“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,” Matsumoto said, according to The Washington Post.
Shkreli’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman argued that his client meant no harm by the post, saying, “Being inappropriate does not make you a danger to the community. ... He says things that are stupid. I don’t think stupid makes you violent."
But prosecutor Jacquelyn Kasulis argued that Shrkeli has demonstrated a propensity for violence with his posts not just by asking for followers to deliver a strand of Clinton’s hair, but for targeted harassment of journalist Lauren Duca earlier this year that got him booted from Twitter. He then bragged in a Facebook post in July about how he intends to have sex with her if he is acquitted.
Kasulis argued that Shrkeli's actions prove an “escalating pattern of violence against women that is incredibly disturbing,” according to the Post.
While Shkreli’s lawyers said his Facebook post was satire, Matsumoto didn’t buy it. “What is funny about that?” Matsumoto said. “He doesn’t know who his followers are. He doesn’t know if someone is going to take his offer seriously. … He is soliciting an assault on another person for $5,000.”
In an argument for himself that is creepier than asking for a bounty on Clinton, he said that he wanted the strand of her hair — follicle attached — to compare to her DNA to a strand he already has in his possession.
For his conviction on securities fraud charges, which include lying to people who invested in his hedge fund and covering up losses, Shkreli faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.