Notorious “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli on Wednesday asked to be released from prison for the remainder of his seven-year criminal sentence for fraud so that he can work on a coronavirus treatment.
Shkreli, who has about 41 months remaining on that term, also is seeking to be released into home confinement to avoid contracting, and potentially dying, from Covid-19, according to a new filing in Brooklyn federal court.
Shkreli’s lawyers asked in that filing that the fallen pharmaceuticals executive be granted “compassionate release” on an emergency basis and that he aims to serve the rest of his punishment at home.
Lawyers requested that he 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.”
Lawyers said Shkreli “has been conducting significant research into developing molecules to inhibit the coronavirus RdRP protein and he would continue to do so if released.”
Shkreli was convicted at trial in 2017 of securities fraud and conspiracy.
At his 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 to help start his first pharmaceuticals company, Retrophin.
Shkreli first gained widespread notoriety in 2015 when his second pharma firm, then known as Turing, 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.
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