BROOKLYN (CN) – During a Friday pretrial hearing for severance, attorneys for "Pharma-Bro" Martin Shkreli and his fraud trial codefendant Evan Greebel told a federal judge the two parties will seek to "mutually destroy each other" if they are tried together.
Shkreli faces charges on an $11 million securities fraud for engaging in a “Ponzi-like scheme" related to Retrophin, a biotechnology firm he founded in 2011.
Greebel is also charged with securities and wire fraud for allegedly furthering the scheme when he served as lead outside counsel for Retrophin from 2012 to 2014. Greebel worked at Katten Muchin Rosenman at the time.
Shkreli's defense attorney Benjamin Brafman warned U.S. District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto for the Eastern District of New York that the mutually antagonistic relationship between Shkreli and Greebel would result in the parties "spend[ing] half the day at the sidebar."
Also pushing for severance, Greebel's attorney Reed Brodsky declared that the two codefendants "will go for each other’s throats," promising his intent to call Shkreli a liar and prove it in court.
Brodsky agreed that the codefendants were "generally mutually irreconcilable."
Brafman also took the opportunity at the hearing to drive home his defense line that Shkreli did not intend to defraud investors, claiming that he instead took on the "Herculean effort” to repay them through consulting agreements and settlements.
The investors came out of the alleged fraud "smelling like roses," according to Brafman, who insisted the case was historic for being a fraud trial in which the investors were not defrauded.
Just as he had done in June 2016 when he entered his not-guilty plea on eight counts of fraud, Shkreli frequently smirked in court Friday as he slouched in his black polo shirt and khakis between big-shot defense attorneys Brafman and Marc Agnifolo.
Cracking a smile when Greebel attorney Brodsky made claims that Shkreli had been committing securities fraud during the relevant time period, he also chuckled with his attorneys when Brodsky said that Retrophin was worth nothing in 2012.
Matsumoto did not rule on the issue of severance.
In September 2015, Shkreli’s name sparked instant revile and public outrage when another of his companies, Turing Pharmaceuticals, bought the rights to the drug Daraprim, then hiked its price from $13.50 to $750.
For patients with toxoplasmosis, which can be deadly to babies and those with cancer or HIV, Daraprim is the preferred treatment.
According to Bloomberg, Turing has raised $90 million in financing by systematically buying drug patents.
The pending fraud case does not charge Shkreli with any conduct related to Daraprim.
Shkreli's defense lawyers Benjamin Brafman and Marc Agnifolo are with Brafman & Associates in New York City.
Greebel's attorney Reed Brodsky works for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in New York City.
The securities fraud trial is set to start in June.
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