Long before Martin Shkreli went on trial for securities fraud, his lawyer knew the so-called Pharma Bro’s big mouth could interfere with the trial.
High-profile lawyer Benjamin Brafman noted Shkreli’s windbag demeanor during an unrelated Manhattan Federal Court hearing in February, the Daily News has learned.
Lawyers and Manhattan Federal Judge Jesse Furman discussed a possible trial date at the hearing for former NBA player Pero Antic’s lawsuit against the city, which was tossed on June 28, court records indicate.
Antic had claimed cops wrongly collared him and fellow hoopster Thabo Sefolosha in connection with the stabbing of ex-Knick Chris Copeland outside Chelsea hotspot 1OAK on April 15, 2015. Sefolosha, whose leg was broken during the arrest, won a $ 4 million settlement last April in his lawsuit against the city.
During the Feb. 27 housekeeping hearing, lawyers and Furman were trying to settle on a trial date either for the summer or fall. Brafman, who represented Sefolosha, asked for a Sept. 11 trial date because of the Shkreli trial, which was expected to run six to eight weeks, court transcripts obtained by The News show.
When Furman suggested mid-August, Brafman hesitated, citing anticipated concerns about jury selection, known as voir dire.
“If that’s the case, it’s very hard to predict because it may require individual voir dire because the case is in United States v. Martin Shkreli, who has gone out of his way to incur substantial publicity,” Brafman said at the time.
Brafman declined to comment Tuesday.
Problems related to the 34-year-old’s meandering rants came to a head last week when Brooklyn federal prosecutors sought a gag order to make Shkreli shut his trap.
Prosecutors argued Shkreli’s “highly publicized visit” to a room for reporters covering his trial could derail his trial – as well as his wacky web posts. During Shkreli’s press room tirade on June 30, he complained about the prosecutors and witnesses for five to 10 minutes before Brafman led him out.
Shkreli, who rose to infamy after jacking up the price of a life-saving AIDS drug from $ 13.50 to $ 750 a pill when he helmed Turing Pharmaceuticals, “embarked on a campaign of disruption by commenting on trial evidence and witnesses to the press and on social media, and by making a spectacle of himself and the trial directly on the courthouse grounds,” prosecutors argued.
Twitter booted Shkreli in January for harassing a reporter, but he has continued to do livestreams on Facebook and Youtube.
When prosecutors tried shutting up Shkreli, they said he was still tweeting under the handle @BLMBro, which said it was a parody account. The account got suspended after the gag order application was filed.
A judge ruled last week Shkreli couldn’t talk about the case inside the courthouse or around it. Before the trial started, it took several days and more than 300 potential jurors to find a panel who said they could fairly hear the case.