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Accused Fraudster Martin ‘Pharma Bro’ Shkreli’s Trial Set for Next June

Martin Shkreli has the next year to perfect his Pokemon Go skills.

At a hearing Thursday, a federal judge set the trial date for June 26, 2017 — more than a year and a half after Shkreli was arrested in December 2015 on allegations of securities fraud.

Shkreli's lawyer Benjamin Brafman also told U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto that he intends to request that the trial be severed so that his client can be tried separately from his co-defendant and former company lawyer Evan Greebel.

Image: Shkreli departs with his attorney Brafman following a hearing at U.S. Federal Court in Brooklyn, New York
Martin Shkreli departs with his attorney Benjamin Brafman following a hearing at U.S. Federal Court in New York on July 14. BRENDAN MCDERMID / Reuters

Both Shkreli and Greebel have pleaded not guilty in the case.

After leaving the courthouse in Brooklyn, Shkreli leaned over to his attorney and asked if he could play Pokemon Go.

Shkreli, 33, is accused by prosecutors of looting the pharma company Retrophin that he was then heading of $11 million to pay off investors he was suspected of previously defrauding in a hedge fund he ran.

Retrophin's board ousted Shkreli in 2014, and later sued him for $65 million in connection with his alleged plundering of the company.

Related: 'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli Pleads Not Guilty to New Charge

During Thursday's hearing, Brafman said he was looking for the defendants to be tried separately as he plans to argue Shkreli is innocent because he was acting on the reliance of Greebel's advice as a lawyer during the time covered by the indictment. In other words, if Shkreli violated the law, he did so because his lawyer said he could.

"I don't think there is a finger of blame to point in this case," Brafman told reporters after the hearing. "You know, to the extent that both defendants may be innocent, but one is a lawyer and our client relied on his advice, it doesn't necessarily mean that either of them committed a crime."

Martin Shkreli Testifies Before Congress and Annoys Congressmen 1:32

Matsumoto said that if she agreed to try the co-defendants separately, the second trial will be set for Oct. 2, 2017. She left unaddressed who would be tried first.

Prosecutors in the case wanted to set the trial for next February or April, but a delay was request by the defense attorneys who said they already have several trials schedule between now and next June.

Shkreli first drew public attention and scorn last year after his new company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, abruptly raised the price of the drug Daraprim, used to treat toxoplasmosis, by more than 5,500 percent. Daraprim's sticker price jumped from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill overnight.

Shkreli repeatedly defended the increase as justified, even as critics noted that pregnant women, babies and people infected with the HIV virus are primary patients of the medication.

Although the price hike drew widespread outrage, it had nothing to do with the criminal charges that were subsequently lodged against him.

In February, Shkreli refused to testify before a congressional committee investigating drug price increases, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.