It wasn’t easy finding jurors who didn’t automatically hate “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli’s guts.
Shkreli, the ex-pharma CEO who gained infamy for price-gouging on HIV and cancer drugs, went on trial in June for securities fraud. To make sure he’d be judged fairly, lawyers for the prosecution and defense asked prospective jurors questions aimed at revealing biases.
A partial transcript of that questioning published by Harper’s Magazine shows that finding jurors who could be fair to Shkreli was quite the challenge. Few held back opinions of the figure once called “the most hated man in America.”
Members of the jury pool called him “a greedy little man,” and “the face of corporate greed in America.” One said “he kind of looks like a dick.”
Several potential jurors told stories of family members’ struggles with illness and health care directly affected by Shkreli’s greed. Even though Shkreli’s fraud charges were unrelated to the pricing of pharmaceuticals, most prospective jurors knew about Shkreli’s remorseless gouging ― raising the price of an infection drug 5,000 percent.
And of course, it was remembered that Shkreli paid several million dollars for the only copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album, and didn’t release it until Donald Trump was elected president.
One potential juror remarked: “And he disrespected the Wu-Tang Clan.”
Others on the panel offered these choice comments:
“Is he stupid or greedy? I can’t understand.”
“It’s my attitude toward his entire demeanor, what he has done to people.”
“You’d have to convince me he was innocent rather than guilty.”
Halfway through the first day of jury selection, HuffPost reported that almost 70 prospective jurors had been dismissed from the pool of 130, and that no jurors had been seated. All of the people who had unkind things to say about Shkreli were rejected.
Eventually, a jury was selected. The panel found Shkreli guilty of three fraud charges, and not guilty on five charges. He’s awaiting sentencing.
Give the full transcript a read if you want to restore some of your faith in humanity.