“I don’t think I can be fair and impartial.”
It’s been almost two years since Martin Shkreli became a household name for all the wrong reasons after raising the price of an AIDS drug to better suit his financial interests. But as his securities fraud trial ramps up in New York, lawyers are finding that the defendant is still fresh in the minds of his peers.
According to The Daily Beast, out of the 130 prospective jurors, half were dismissed due to conflicts of interest, many of which were their personal opinions towards the “pharma bro.”
Though Shkreli has already faced the court of public opinion, he faces 20 years in prison for the charges against him and likely didn’t do himself any favors by continuing to tweet, knocking the work of teenagers to create an affordable version of Shkreli’s hoarded drug. His Twitter account has since been suspended.
According to The Daily Beast’s report, Shkreli’s reputation is still fresh in the public’s mind, leading to some truly passionate remarks from the jury candidates to presiding Judge Matsumoto.
Select comments on court record include:
“I think [Shkreli’s] a very evil man.
I know he’s the most hated man in America, in my opinion. My father’s cancer medication costs $1,000 a month. I don’t think I can be fair and impartial.”
Another woman, who didn’t know Shkreli from his reputation, lent some credence to the idea that Shkreli’s appearance tends to elicit passionate responses.
“I looked right at him, and in my head I said, 'That's a snake,' not knowing who he is.”
While public opinion has certainly found its way into this stage of Shkreli’s trial, it’s difficult to ascertain if this will serve as a boon or a burden to his defense. The jury selection pool is clearly running dry as a result of his notoriety, but that could afford the maligned finance exec a chance to impart favorable or malleable jurors as selection carries on.
If these are the comments coming from jury selection, we’ll likely see more of the same once the trial is underway.