Dozens of prospective jurors beg off 'Pharma Bro' case

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Martin Shkreli appeared in a NY federal court Monday for the start of his securities fraud trial-and was quickly declared guilty of price gouging by potential jurors. Shkreli was arrested by agents of the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2015.

Emily Saul is a court reporter for the Post who is covering Shkreli's Ponzi scheme trial, while Meg Tirrell covers the pharmaceutical industry for CNBC. A brash social media presence, Shkreli also received widespread scorn in 2015 for saying he paid about $2 million for the only known copy of the Wu-Tang Clan's new album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.

During jury questioning Monday, several potential jurors said they couldn't ignore Martin Shkreli's reputation for raising the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent.

"From everything I've read, I believe the defendant is the face of corporate greed in America".

"Who does that? A person who puts profit over everything else", another prospective juror said while mimicking wringing Shkreli's neck.

Other potential jurors had bad reactions to Mr. Shkreli himself.

When Matsumoto told prospective jurors that Shkreli's work in pharmaceuticals was not on trial, prosecutor Alixandra Smith corrected her.

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Some of the potential jurors had actually been personally affected by Shkreli's controversial business decision, having taken Darprim, the drug he upcharged from $13.50 to $750 a pill.

"I think he's a very evil man", said one young woman, according to the pool report. "I bought these domains for $12 - you can have them for $12,000".

"The price gouger of drugs". "Honestly? Because [Shkreli] looks like a dick", the man said, before he shrugged his shoulders and added "sorry".

By 1:00 p.m., close to 70 possible jurors, out of a pool of 130, had already been excused from the case, and none had been seated.

"So much for the presumption of innocence", attorney for the defense Benjamin Brafman said Monday, predicting the coverage would further complicate the process.

Brafman intends to argue in court that Shkreli lacked the requisite criminal intent to defraud investors and relied on his trusted counsel, Greebel. Matsumoto and defense lawyers questioned potential jurors in a sidebar that included press access.