Trial Kicks Off for Ex-Lawyer of Jailed ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli

BROOKLYN (CN) – Jury selection kicked off Monday in New York for the next chapter of a federal securities trial that could open up the cell adjoining convicted fraudster Martin Shkreli’s for his former lawyer.

As an attorney with Katten Muchin Rosenman from 2012 to 2014, Evan Greebel served as lead outside counsel for Shkreli’s biopharmaceutical company, Retrophin.

The 44-year-old faces counts of conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud in connection to a “Ponzi-like scheme” Shkreli engineered long before his name earned instant revile in connection to pharmaceutical price gouging.

Shkreli is best known for his unapologetic price-gouging of the HIV drug Daraprim. At the helm of another of his companies, Turing Pharmaceuticals, in September 2015, Shkreli bought the rights to Daraprim, then hiked its price from $13.50 to $750.

It was Shkreli’s scheme to loot millions of dollars from Retrophin in stock and cash, however, that landed him behind bars. Though not scheduled to be sentenced until January, a federal judge remanded Shkreli to jail last month after finding that he posed a danger to the community.

Rather than straw, it was hair that broke the camel’s back. Shkreli offered his more than 70,000 Facebook followers a $5,000 bounty for each follicle belonging to Hillary Clinton they could procure.

Greebel is accused of giving Shkreli detailed advice on how to pay off investors in his fledgling hedge funds, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare, with Retrophin funds, as well as how to circumvent trading restrictions to improperly maintain control of certain shares of Retrophin.

Reed Brodsky with the firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher is leading Greebel’s defense, which was severed from Shkreli’s prosecution in April.

Greebel’s attorneys had argued at the time that trying the two men together would seriously compromise Greebel’s right to a fair trial, particularly since the two men “have mutually antagonistic and irreconcilable defenses.” 

The filing said that the men’s dueling defenses meant “no realistic way for a jury to find both defendants not guilty.”

Greebel’s attorneys also moved last week to dismiss Count Seven against their client, based n Shkreli’s acquittal of the same charge.

U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto denied Greebel’s motion, noting that the government is not bound by the evidence it presented at Shkreli trial, that it may present evidence of additional co-conspirators, and that Shkreli’s verdict does not have preclusive effect on the case against Greebel.

“Count Seven of the Superseding Indictment sufficiently and appropriately alleges a single count of wire fraud conspiracy,” Matsumoto wrote.

Matsumoto also oversaw Shkreli’s month-long trial, which ended with Shkreli’s convictions on three counts of securities fraud and his acquittal on five other criminal counts, including wire fraud.

Shkreli faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Jury voir dire in the Shkreli trial lasted nearly three entire trial days.

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