12 people. That’s all a Brooklyn federal court needs to begin Martin Shkreli’s criminal fraud trial. Shkreli, the 34-year-old founder of Retrophin Inc. and Turing Pharmaceuticals AG, is accused of defrauding investors in two hedge funds and using $11 million of Retrophin assets to pay them off, Bloomberg reports.
This accusation comes at the heels of Shkreli becoming an international villain infamous for hiking the price of an AIDS drug 5,000 percent when he ran Turing Pharmaceuticals.
As you can imagine, his reputation proceeds him. Over the course of eight hours, lawyers questioned the 178-person Brooklyn federal court pool, dismissing 134 of them for prejudices against Shkreli for his controversial history.
The first potential juror interviewed Monday, a young woman in her 30s, called Shkreli “an evil man.” Another woman said she knew he’d been labeled “the most hated man in America,” while a third woman declared, “I looked right at him and, in my head, I said ‘that’s a snake.”’
One woman, who pretended to wring Shkreli’s neck, said, “I honestly don’t think I could be impartial.” Referring to Shkreli’s decision to hike the price of a drug by 5,000 percent, she asked “Who does that?” She then answered her own question: “A person who puts profit over everything else.” [via Bloomberg]
One young man, who mentioned Shkreli’s $2 million purchase of the only copy of the Wu-Tang Clan album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” answered the judge: “Honestly? Because he kind of looks like a dick.” [h/t New York Post]
During this 8-hour lambasting, Shkreli reportedly looked bored, chewing on his pen.
The search for 12 jurors and six alternates continues Tuesday.
If convicted of securities fraud charges for allegedly running an $11 million Ponzi scheme, Shkreli faces up to 20 years in the slammer. He would not do well there.