Here's how Martin Shkreli, a.k.a. the Pharma Bro and "the most hated CEO in America" spent yesterday afternoon--a day that turned out to be his last day of freedom for a while:
1. Emailed a sarcastic comment to a reporter, and posted his email thread on Facebook.
2. Opined in a post that he'd like to start a "supervillians league," including "Milo Yiannopoulos, 3. Donald J. Trump, my dad Vladimir Putin and Peter Thiel."
Confirmed he'd once owned an "Authentic Martin Shkreli Fidget Spinner" that someone was selling on eBay.
Then, Shkreli went to court, where to his apparent surprise, a judge revoked his $5 million bail after a stock fraud conviction last month, and sent him to prison--where he'll wait until at least next January.
You might recall Shkreli as the ex-drug company CEO who gained notoriety when he acquired the patent to a drug used to treat malaria, cancer, and AIDS--then increased its price from $13.50 to $750 a tablet.
He made his reputation even worse (intentionally perhaps) with interviews and tweets in which he said other people were too stupid to understand the pharmaceutical industry. And he became a dark star of social media, with active Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube followings--which he fed with tons of content.
"I have a big mouth," he told an interviewer from Vice, "and that's kind of the reason a lot of this stuff has happened."
So while he picked up a small but devoted following, it's hard for most people to have much sympathy for Shkreli. Here's what happened to land him in jail--and what he can expect now.
"Solicitation to assault"
Shkreli couldn't stop his social media compulsion. Even after he was arrested in the stock fraud case, he live-tweeted his own trial. After he was found guilty of some of the counts against him last months, he gave a press conference in which he declared victory--and then opined on Twitter that the judge would be unlikely to give him more than six months in prison.
As ill-advised as that was, he did something really stupid while he was out on bail: He posted on Facebook that he was willing to pay $5,000 to anyone who would go to one of Hillary Clinton's book signings and "grab a hair" from her.
Shkreli claimed it was humor, but when he went before Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto yesterday evening, she ruled that it amounted to " solicitation to assault in exchange for money."
The New York Times described the scene:
Mr. Shkreli, dressed in a lavender button-down shirt, was animated for much of the hearing, as he had been throughout his trial. But his behavior changed when Judge Matsumoto said that she had decided to jail him, and he sat quietly at the defense table for the rest of the hearing.
After the hearing, two deputy United States marshals led Mr. Shkreli to a holding cell adjoining the courtroom. He will be held at a federal jail in Brooklyn.
What he can expect
I've seen media reports describing the Brooklyn federal detention center as a rough place.
But on a forum called Prison Talk, a white collar convict who said he'd served a bit of time there described the atmosphere. He was in the kind of dorm a nonviolent offender like Shkreli is likely to wind up in, and his post might be a bit reassuring to Shkreli if he had time to read it before he was taken into custody:
I was expecting the worst. I couldn't have been more wrong. First, there were 125 men in one large room ... The men were very considerate of each other, and I didn't hear a raised voice ever, much less an argument. ...
Much of the time we didn't speak the same language, and we certainly came from different cultures. That never seemed to matter. Everyone realized we were all in the same situation (hell, in the same big room!), and no one was any different or better than anyone else.
It doesn't sound particularly pleasant, but also not like a gladiator academy where Shkreli would have to worry constantly about his physical safety. Regardless, he won't be getting out until at least January, when he's scheduled to be sentenced for the stock fraud convictions. I wonder who will be running his social media in the meantime.
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