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“Pharma bro” Martin Shkreli was convicted of three fraud charges last month, and he faces up to 20 years in prison. But according to at least two jurists, he should have been dealt an even tougher punishment.
Although Shkreli was found guilty on two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, the jury acquitted him of five other charges, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which likely would have led to more prison time and heftier fines.
Two anonymous jurors told the Daily Beast he should have been convicted on two other charges, including a wire fraud charge, and they feel upset they let Shkreli get away.
“We didn’t know until the trial was over that counts five and seven were the top counts, carrying the possibility of the most prison time,” the juror, identified only as Juror A, told the website.
“It made me ill to be persuaded to vote not guilty on those counts,” said Juror B.
According to the jurors, they felt bullied into making a not-guilty vote by one juror who was “adamant that the way the judge’s instructions were written, there was no way to convict … and the holdout juror would not budge.”
Juror A said they didn’t realize they were being bullied by that one holdout until after the trial, and that’s why they’re so upset now.
The two jurors also said they were tired of the trial and they wanted to go home, which contributed to their eventual agreement not to convict Shkreli on some of the charges. The problem, the anonymous jurors said, was that the jury was split over how to decide if Shkreli was guilty based on his motives to either cause “financial loss or property loss” or to cause “harm” to other people.
“That juror insisted that meant that the prosecutors had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Shkreli meant to cause ‘hurt’ or ‘harm’ to the people he was swindling,” Juror A said. “Many of us disagreed and thought that he only had to cause financial loss or property loss.”
But the jurors also said they felt they couldn’t go to Judge Kiyo Matsumoto to clarify the instructions, because she had refused to clarify another question earlier in the deliberations. So, the jurors said, they allowed that earlier experience to dissuade them from asking for the judge’s help.
“When we handed in the verdicts, I wanted to vomit,” Juror A said.
Shkreli—who came to national prominence when, as the head of Turing Pharmaceutical, he raised the price of the AIDs lifesaving drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill—is now in jail as he awaits sentencing. He had been out on a $5 million bond, but it was revoked after he offered his followers $5,000 if they could get him a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair and the judge decided it was “a solicitation to assault in exchange for money.”
Said Juror B to the Daily Beast: “That’s karma.”
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.