Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli has bail revoked, heads to jail

A judge jailed former pharmaceuticals company CEO Martin Shkreli on Wednesday after finding that he violated his bail on a securities fraud conviction with a social media posting she agreed posed a threat to Hillary Clinton.

Defense attorneys had argued at a hearing in federal court in Brooklyn that the post by Shkreli, offering a $5,000 bounty to anyone who could grab him one of Clinton’s hairs while she’s on a book tour, was political satire. But U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto didn’t see the humor, saying the offer could be taken seriously by fellow Clinton detractors.

The Clinton offer could be viewed as “a solicitation of an assault,” the judge said before revoking Shkreli’s $5 million bail.

“This is not protected by the First Amendment,” the judge said. “… There’s a risk that somebody may take him up on it.”

The government had told the judge that the message had alarmed the Secret Service detail that protects Clinton, a Democratic former presidential candidate and first lady. It also argued that it fit a pattern of veiled threats against female journalists who rebuffed Shkreli’s social media advances and of taunts aimed at prosecutors in his case.

On Monday, Shkreli, often called the Pharma Bro, wrote to the court apologizing for his behavior, saying, “I am not a violent person.”

But for the judge, it was too little, too late.

“He doesn’t have to apologize to me,” she said. “He should apologize to the government, the Secret Service and Hillary Clinton.”

Shkreli watched in silence as the hearing unfolded and sometimes put his head down and appeared to scribble notes. After the judge’s ruling, he remained expressionless as deputy U.S. marshals led him out a side door of the courtroom without handcuffing him.

Defense attorney Ben Brafman said outside court he was disappointed in the judge’s decision.

“We believe the court arrived at the wrong decision, but she’s the judge and right now we will have to live with this decision,” he said.

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