The ongoing legal drama of former pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli and his one-time lawyer (and alleged co-conspirator) just keeps getting weirder.
On Thursday, CNBC reported that the trial of Evan Greebel, a lawyer accused of helping Shkreli loot his pharmaceutical company Retrophin, has been temporarily put on hold after “potentially career-ending allegations” about a government official involved in both Shkreli’s and Greebel’s prosecution reportedly were raised by Greebel’s attorneys.
The allegations, first reported by the online legal publication Law 360, were raised Wednesday in Brooklyn, New York, federal court, where Greebel is on trial. Shkreli was convicted of three out of eight fraud counts in a separate trial over the summer.
Law 360 reported that Greebel's trial "came to a screeching halt" Wednesday during testimony by Steven Rosenfeld, an investor in both Retrophin and one of Shkreli's hedge funds and one of the people who was purportedly offered a fraudulent consulting agreement as a form of compensation for his losses in Shkreli’s hedge fund.
It’s unclear exactly what Rosenfeld said. Here’s how events unfolded, according to CNBC.
Law 360 reported that Greebel's trial "came to a screeching halt" Wednesday during testimony by Steven Rosenfeld, an investor in both Retrophin and one of Shkreli's hedge funds.
Rosenfeld, a non-practicing doctor called to the witness stand by Greebel's lawyer, was reportedly being asked about what happened in 2015 when FBI agents visited his home to ask about a consulting agreement he had with Retrophin.
Shkreli and Greebel were accused of using bogus consulting agreements by Retrophin with investors in Shkreli's hedge fund to repay them for their losses — but Rosenfeld claims he did actual work under the agreement.
According to Law 360, Rosenfeld testified he asked the FBI if he could call his attorney. A prosecutor then objected to that line of questioning.
That objection led to a lengthy discussion with prosecutors, defense lawyers and Judge Kiyo Matsumoto out of the earshot of jurors and observers in the courtroom.
Another long sidebar conference followed after Greebel's lawyer Randy Mastro asked Rosenfeld who had attended a subsequent meeting he had with government officials, Law 360 reported.
Matsumoto reportedly sent jurors home for the day early. She then ordered prosecutors and defense lawyers to file sealed legal briefs "on what she described as 'potentially career-ending allegations' made by the defense," according to Law 360.
Matsumoto said the briefs should address the question of whether statements made by federal prosecutors outside a courtroom are admissible as evidence in a case.
Assistant US Attorney David Pitluck, one of the prosecutors in Greebel's case, said in court that the allegations raised by the defense are "very serious,” but there still haven’t been any clues as to exactly what those allegations are.
Greebel's lawyers, in a letter to the judge filed Wednesday, wrote that statements made to Rosenfeld by government officials should be allowed into evidence "to show why Dr. Rosenfeld would have felt motivated to cooperate with the government and to provide context for what he knew in subsequent meetings."
Shkreli, who was found guilty over the summer, is awaiting sentencing at a federal jail in Brooklyn that is also home to Mexican drug lord El Chapo. His bail was revoked – while his $2 million bail was withheld – following a Facebook post offering a reward for a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair that prosecutors successfully argued was essentially a threat. It’s unclear whether these allegations could also help Shkreli secure his freedom. He is to be sentenced in January.