Martin Shkreli may have gone too far posting a $5,000 bounty on Facebook for someone to “grab” hair from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Federal prosecutors now say the former pharmaceutical executive once dubbed “the most hated man in America” should be locked up immediately.
Shkreli, who was found guilty by a jury last month of defrauding investors in two hedge funds, has been out on bail awaiting his sentencing hearing. He’s engaged in a “pattern of threats and harassment” and his bail should be revoked, prosecutors told a Brooklyn, New York, federal judge in a filing Thursday.
“So on HRC’s book tour, try to grab a hair from her,” Shkreli posted on his Facebook page on Sept. 4. “I must confirm the sequencing I have. Will pay $5,000 per hair obtained from Hillary Clinton. Payment after the sequence matches. Good luck patrollers.”
Clinton is slated to appear at a Barnes & Noble bookstore in Union Square in New York City on Sept. 12, according to the store. A hearing on Shkreli’s bail is set for Sept. 14.
Shkreli, notorious for raising the price of the potentially life-saving drug Daraprim by 5,000 percent, faces as long as 20 years in prison, although he’s likely to serve much less. He was convicted of three of eight charges, including securities fraud. He was acquitted of fraud charges related to allegations that he looted his drug company to pay off his hedge-fund investors.
Prosecutors Jacquelyn Kasulis and Alixandra Smith argued Shkreli not only appears to have violated state and federal laws prohibiting threats against the immediate family members of former presidents, but that he also has a history of harassing specific women. They noted that in January he was banned from Twitter after he invited Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca to be his date for the inauguration of President Donald Trump and later doctored photos of himself with her.
“We take the matter seriously and intend to address the issue responsibly,” Benjamin Brafman, a lawyer for Shkreli, said in an email Thursday night. “However inappropriate some of Mr Shkreli’s postings may have been, we do not believe that he intended harm and do not believe that he poses a danger to the community.”
Several hours after Shkreli’s bounty offer for Hillary Clinton’s hair was reported by the media, he edited the Facebook post, saying it was “satire, meant for humor.”
But prosecutors said Shkreli’s comments were viewed as a threat by the U.S. Secret Service, which launched an investigation and has since “expended significant additional resources to ensure Secretary Clinton’s protection.”
Kasulis and Smith said that the Secret Service has sought to interview Shkreli but he declined, saying on his Facebook page, “I am declining that interview — schedule is full. I will be peacefully protesting the Hillary Clinton book signing in NYC, chanting ‘Lock her up.’”
The government said that Shkreli, who’s been a long-time critic of Hillary Clinton, has gone beyond merely posting comments on social media. On Sept. 11, 2016, when Clinton became physically ill during a memorial service at the World Trade Center site, he traveled to the Manhattan apartment of her daughter Chelsea Clinton, where the former secretary of state was taken to recuperate. Shkreli stood outside the building, heckled her and spent two hours live-streaming while making comments, prosecutors said.
“Shkreli’s own prior actions, and his influence over others who have previously acted in reliance of his statements, demonstrate why the government views his latest actions with concern,” prosecutors said.
In June, while Shkreli was awaiting trial, Brafman sought to have his bail reduced from $5 million to $3 million to allow him to pay his taxes and legal defense expenses. At the time, prosecutors said the ex-executive had plenty of cash, citing a recent series of postings he’d made on social media.
The government said Shkreli told court officials that he was worth $70 million and owns a Picasso, an unreleased Lil Wayne album and one of the original “Enigma” machines, which was used to break German codes during World War II. He also recently promised a Princeton University student $40,000 for solving a mathematical proof, she said.
In a May 26 Facebook post, Shkreli offered a $100,000 bounty to find the killer of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, Smith said. In addition, he frittered away $2 million buying an unreleased double album by hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan, the prosecutor said.
Shkreli recently put that album up for auction on Ebay, where by Thursday evening, the offer had reached more than $1 million after fierce bidding for the double-CD master recording.
The case is U.S. v. Shkreli, 15-cr-0637, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).
This article originally published at Bloomberg