BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) – One Christmas sweater peeked out of the jury box Friday as closing arguments wrapped up in the securities-fraud trial of a former lawyer for “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli.
A former partner with Katten Muchin Rosenman, attorney Evan Greebel is accused of helping Shkreli carry out a Ponzi-like scheme as outside counsel to the biopharmaceutical company Retrophin between 2012 and 2014.
Shrekli has already been convicted of looting millions from Retrophin during this period to compensate investors in his now defunct hedge funds, MSMB Capital Management and MSMB Healthcare Management.
Prosecutors say Greebel’s role in the scheme consisted of fraudulently backdating documents, as well as drafting phony settlement and consulting agreements.
“So why’d he do it,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Alixandra Smith asked rhetorically in closing arguments. “For the oldest reason in the book. For money.”
When Greebel worked for Retrophin in 2014, he saw his annual salary nearly triple to $900,000 from the year prior when he earned $355,000.
After Smith’s closing took up more than four hours Thursday, the defense more than doubled this time in a two-day, tag-team effort that lasted 10 hours.
Josh Dubin went first, delivering an emotional two-hour plea that depicted Greebel as another victim of master-manipulator Shkreli.
Dubin promised the jury that Shkreli’s other attorney would undermine a key element in a conspiracy charge by showing “wall after wall after wall” of “devastating evidence” that Greebel represented Retrophin in good faith.
As promised, Reed Brodsky got deep into the weeds these evidence “walls” for about eight hours.
Shkreli is best known for his unapologetic price-gouging of the HIV drug Daraprim, but it was the Retrophin scandal that landed the 34-year-old behind bars.
Greebel’s trial was in many ways a longer echo of Shkreli’s, and Shkreli’s name came up more.
“This is not the Martin Shkreli trial,” Dubin said Thursday, noting the prosecution had mixed up Greebel and Shkreli’s names “I think 10 times” the day before.
As he finished on Friday, Brodsky reminded the jury his client is wrapped in a “blanket of innocence.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Pitluck had the final say in a government rebuttal midmorning Friday. He spoke for about two hours, likening Greebel’s alleged crimes to someone who robs a bank and then puts a lock on the door.
“The crimes are not complicated,” Pitluck told the jury of Greebel’s alleged misconduct. “They’re the oldest crimes in the book … it’s time for you to hold him accountable,” he said.
In the initial closing Wednesday, Smith accused Greebel of “troubleshooting” for Shkreli when it came to angry investors. Greebel used his “legal skills and his position of trust as Retrophin’s lawyer … to cover up Shkreli’s wrongdoing,” Smith said.
“Every time he was given the opportunity to choose between helping his client, Retrophin, and Mr. Shkreli,” Smith said of Greebel, “he chose Mr. Shkreli.”
U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto charged the 12-person, two-alternate jury Friday afternoon and it began deliberations. Those will resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday, the day after Christmas.