Now that former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli has decided not to testify in his own defense, the jury could reach a verdict as soon as Friday afternoon. Closing arguments are beginning Thursday, as Shkreli lawyer Benjamin Brafman bets that he poked enough holes in the prosecution’s case to give his client a reasonable shot at a “not guilty” verdict.
After the defense let its case rest without calling any witnesses or producing any evidence, Shkreli’s lawyers lost a long-shot bid to get their client off by motioning for the judge to drop the charges on the grounds that the eight-count indictment included “insufficient evidence.” The bid was quickly rejected, according to CNBC.
“The rejection sets the stage for a very long, full day of closing arguments in the case by prosecutors and Shkreli's lawyers Thursday, with those arguments only expected to wrap up Friday morning.
Jurors could then begin deliberations later Friday, exactly one month after opening arguments were made in the trial.”
Meanwhile, in an ill-timed release (though it presumably won’t influence the jury, which has been instructed to avoid Shkreli-related media), New York State listed Shkreli as No. 14 on its July list of the biggest tax delinquents in the state, claiming he owes $4 million.
However, Brafman disputed the government’s claims in a statement to the New York Post.
“…Shkreli, ‘through his lawyers and accountants, has been negotiating a payment plan with the IRS and New York State authorities that has been accepted by them. He is not a delinquent taxpayer.’”
Shkreli, once reportedly worth $100 million, is now reportedly close to penniless following a series of trading losses and expenses related to his defense.
Shkreli reportedly waived his right to a separate trial by the same jury to determine how much of his assets should be forfeited if he’s found guilty, possibly a sign that the Shkreli – who has vehemently proclaimed his innocence – believes he will be exonerated.
While arguing their case, prosecutors presented evidence that Shkreli mislead investors about the size of their investment returns, and then became evasive when some asked for their money. They’ve also shown records of employment agreements hiring some of these same investors as consultants at Retrophin, a pharmaceutical company Shkreli co-founded. Through the agreements, Shkreli made his investors whole with salaries and stock paid out by Retrophin. Prosecutors’ allege Shkreli improperly embezzled this money from the company to pay off his personal debts. Shkreli is facing eight counts of wire and mail fraud.
Shkreli defense lawyer Brafman tried to portray his client as a brilliant, hardworking financier who’s borderline-autistic social skills brought him into conflict with his investors and the board of his former company. Papers have called it “the born this way defense.” Shkreli originally attracted media attention after his former company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of the toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim by 5,000%, earning Shkreli the label of “the most hated man in America.”