Notorious “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli asked Wednesday to be released from prison for the remainder of his seven-year criminal sentence so he can work on developing a coronavirus treatment and to avoid contracting a potentially fatal case of Covid-19 himself.
Shkreli, who has about 41 months remaining on that sentence for securities fraud, is requesting a release into home confinement, according to a new filing in Brooklyn federal court.
Shkreli’s lawyers in that filing that the fallen pharmaceuticals executive urged a judge to give him “compassionate release” on an emergency basis.
The attorneys said that he has a “susceptibility to infection [from the coronavirus] due to allergies and asthma.”
“It is likely that he will soon be exposed to thevirus andpotentially become critically ill or die,” the filing said.
Lawyers requested that Shkreli be freed from a Pennsylvania federal prison and directed “to serve the remainder of his prison sentence in home confinement with electronic monitoring and with permission to work on his research from home, or, with permission of probation, to report to a specific local workplace to perform research on a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatment.”
The New York City resident “has been conducting significant research into developing molecules to inhibit the coronavirus RdRP protein and he would continue to do so if released,” the court filing said.
Shkreli was convicted at trial in Brooklyn in 2017 of securities fraud and conspiracy.
At that trial, prosecutors introduced evidence that he had repeatedly lied to investors about the financial performance of two hedge funds that he ran, and then used money invested in those funds, without the knowledge of his invedtors, to help start his first pharmaceuticals company, Retrophin.
Shkreli first gained widespread notoriety in 2015 when his second drug firm, then known as Turing Pharmaceuticals, hiked the price of an anti-parasite medication by more than 5,000 percent overnight.
The drug, Daraprim, is often used to treat pregnant women, infants and people with HIV.
Shkreli was, and continues to be, unapologetic about raising Daraprim’s price from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill, a move that made him a focal point for advocates criticizing rising drug prices in the United States.
When he raised Daraprim’s price, Shkreli already was being investigated by the FBI for his hedge fund frauds and related activities at Retrophin. His conviction was not related to his work at Turing Pharmaceuticals.
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