Martin Shkreli Writes Judge Letter From ‘Frightening’ Prison Begging For Mercy

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Martin Shkreli’s tough guy song and dance has suddenly evaporated at the prospect of spending several years in a higher-security prison for defrauding investors to the tune of $10.4 million in losses.

The 34-year-old once dubbed ‘the most hated man in America’ for hiking up life-saving drugs to a price beyond comprehension for most citizens is currently locked up in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York. He’s been there since September, as his release bond had been revoked by a judge after a series of social media stunts including offering his Facebook followers $5,000 for samples of Hillary Clinton’s hair.

Shkreli’s lawyers have asked Judge Kiyo Matsumoto to sentence him somewhere between 12 and 18 months in prison. This is in stark contrast to the 10+ years in the slammer that could be laid forth by federal sentencing guidelines.

In the run-up to sentencing on March 9, Shkreli wrote Judge Matsumoto a letter admitting his shortcomings and attempting to convince the Judge that his public stunts don’t reflect his moral values.

You can read the entire letter below, first spotted on ZeroHedge:

Your Honor,

I hope my trial gave the Court sufficient insight into the case, and also to me as a person. I hope Your Honor will treat me as an individual. I acknowledge and respect the Jury’s verdict, but the verdict is not who I am.

Despite the Jury’s verdict, I maintain that I never intended to actually harm anyone. I am not trying to be defiant or obstinate. I accept the fact that I made serious mistakes, but I still believe that I am a good person with much potential.

I have watched this process unfold, from indictment to verdict and although Mr. Brafman and his colleagues are peerless defenders, they cannot fully reproduce my own perspective, only I can try. I understand it, I am very far from blameless. I caused this entire mess to happen. I lost the trust of my investors who now have questioned my motives and integrity. This is a painful realization that I will never forget. I had pride in the final results of MSMB, but after hearing the investor testimony, the concept of “all’s well that ends well” is clearly a poor attempt to excuse my many preventable mistakes.

Investors deserve truth. Investors deserve transparency. Any loss of trust in the sacred relationship between investor and manager is the manager’s fault and could have been avoided. At times, I dodged answering questions at other times I provided answers that were only correct if put in a certain assumed context. These choices are now seen as attempts by me to deceive and manipulate, and it is my fault.

The truth is somewhere in between. I wanted to be more than I was. I exaggerated if I felt I had any basis to make the claim. I am now, however, a more self confident and secure person. The demons that haunted me — the root cause of my insecurity in my life — no longer all exist. I have learned a very painful lesson. Never again will I prevaricate or omit or mislead-intentionally or not. There are ways to communicate which eliminate the possibility of doubt and alternative interpretations of fact. I take responsibility for the fact that I used to behave and communicate in this way. It was wrong. I was a fool. I should have known better. Watching my trial was a very scary experience. For the first time in my life I saw me from other people’s perspective and realized that most people don’t share my perspective.

It breaks my heart that good and honest people were dragged into this mess because of me. Some of my investors who took a chance on me; my colleagues, many of whom now regret having partnered with me; my family and friends, whose worry is more painful to me than anything else; patients and charitable organizations, whose fives and activities have been upended in some cases; and the huge loss of economic resources and productivity that this case represents. It wouldn’t have happened if I was more careful, more honest, more reasonable and far wiser.

Today I am the majority owner of businesses worth many millions of dollars, but more importantly, I employ over a hundred people globally, in high-paying jobs who have critical roles and responsibilities. They are counting on me, and I let them down. I have learned a harsh lesson. The trial and six months in a maximum security prison has been a frightening wake-up call. I now understand how I need to change.

I feel I should try to explain my personality. I am an irreverent and free-wheeling individual, who has never been shy about speaking my mind. I am an individual who prizes equal rights, scholastic achievement and individuality. Please understand that when I get into a public war of words with someone, my comments do not always reflect my true nature. Sadly, when I get dragged into mud fight, I often dive in, head first. I pray Your Honor doesn’t hold this behavior against me or mistake it for my regular approach to life. At times, I have been characterized totally incorrectly at trial by some who are biased, as litigation opponents for example do not make fair critics. I regret where my temper can take me when I get angry or feel betrayed. I have worked on this bad habit for some months now and will try to find equanimity in the future.

Prison has been both the most frightening experience in my life but also an opportunity for me to see a side of the world seldom seen or discussed. I have tried my best to make a positive impact on many of the people I encounter here. If I have something to teach my fellow inmates, I implored them to listen and learn. I have comforted the forlorn and forgotten men facing long sentences, many are severely depressed, and sadly, suicidal. I try my best to set a good example for these individuals too, knowing my fame and achievements were something they might know of, and I try my best to explain that in order to have a chance to succeed, they had to make a serious commitment to lifelong education and move far away from poisonous surroundings and attitudes that lead to a temptation to cut corners and commit crimes.

My own advice has not gone unheeded by me. I have also been lucky in my life to be surrounded by some wonderful people who have been better to me than I deserve. I owe them a life built on honesty, integrity and achievement that advances humanity. I assure you that any mercy shown at sentencing will be met with a strict adherence to this oath and I hope to make Your Honor proud of me in the years ahead. I promise to be more careful, open and honest in my business dealings so that I never again have to hear people who once had faith in me and trusted me testify or complain that I misled them or let them down terribly. Just as important, however, is my pledge to Your Honor that if you find it appropriate to impose a sentence that does not include an extended period of incarceration, I will do my absolute best to use my skills and whatever talents I have been blessed with for the betterment of humanity. I honestly believe that I can contribute and really make a difference if Your Honor gives me a chance.

It is going to be real interesting to see if this letter has any bearing on the sentencing nine days from today.

[h/t Uproxx]

Matt Keohan Avatar
Matt’s love of writing was born during a sixth grade assembly when it was announced that his essay titled “Why Drugs Are Bad” had taken first prize in D.A.R.E.’s grade-wide contest. The anti-drug people gave him a $50 savings bond for his brave contribution to crime-fighting, and upon the bond’s maturity 10 years later, he used it to buy his very first bag of marijuana.