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Prosecutors Ask Judge to Shut Martin Shkreli's Mouth During Trial

Prosecutors in Brooklyn asked a judge to put a gag order on "pharma bro" Martin Shkreli after the hedge fund manager scorned them as "junior varsity."
Image: Martin Shkreli, former chief executive officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals and KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc, departs after a hearing at U.S. Federal Court in Brooklyn, New York
Martin Shkreli, former chief executive officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals and KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc, departs after a hearing at U.S. Federal Court on June 26, 2017 in Brooklyn, New York. FileLucas Jackson / Reuters File

Prosecutors ridiculed by "pharma bro" Martin Shkreli last week have asked a judge to shut him up, saying he should be barred from talking publicly ─ and tweeting ─ about his federal securities-fraud trial.

The request came after Shkreli walked into a courtroom full of reporters during a Friday lunch break in Brooklyn and shared his thoughts about the case. At one point, he called the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of New York "junior varsity," according to accounts of several journalists who were there.

Shkreli also told reporters that he hadn't prepared some of the internal documents that the government was using to try to prove he duped investors. And he derided a woman who'd testified against him, saying she couldn't have been a victim of any crime because she ended up making money, CNBC reported.

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Those comments were just part of Shkreli's "campaign of disruption" in which he has commented "to the press and on social media" and made "a spectacle of himself and the trial," prosecutors wrote in their motion for a gag order. They accused Shkreli, who was banned from Twitter earlier this year for harassing a female journalist, of being behind an anonymous account that has been commenting on the trial.

Related: Shkreli’s Trial Not On Drug Prices, But This ‘Ponzi-Like’ Scheme

"If this behavior continues, it is only a matter of time before Shkreli, or a member of the public who is repeating Shkreli's statements, exposes one or more jurors to precisely the sort of extrajudicial evidence or commentary and our system forbids," the prosecutors wrote.

Shkreli's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman ─ who speculated in his opening statements that his client might be "just nuts" ─ responded by accusing the media of trying to "bait" his client, who he said was in a "frail emotional state" and trying to defend himself against "one-sided coverage."

While Brafman said he has told Shkreli to knock it off, a gag order would violate Shkreli's First Amendment rights, Brafman said.

The filings were made on Monday, two days before the trial was set to resume before U.S. District Court Judge Kiyo Matsumoto.

Shkreli, 34, became a target of public derision when he raised the price of an AIDS drug by more than 5,000 percent. His trial, where he faces eight counts of wire and securities fraud, aren't related to that move. They cover his time as portfolio manager of two hedge funds and the founder of pharmaceutical company Retrophin.

Shkreli has continued to grab attention with various antics since his arrest, flaunting large purchases on social media, including a rare album by the rap group Wu-Tang Clan.