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Sep142017

Martin Shkreli Detained after “Solicit[ing] Assault” 

What Happened?
U.S. District Court Judge Kiyo Matsumoto (E.D.N.Y.) granted the United States’ motion to revoke the bond of Martin Shkreli, who was awaiting sentencing after a jury found him guilty on two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud.

The Rundown
After he was found guilty, Shkreli remained out of custody, as the Court continued the conditions of release to which he had been subject since his initial appearance. However, not five weeks after the trial concluded, Shkreli offered, via his Facebook page, $5000 to anybody who could “grab a hair” of Hillary Clinton’s during her book tour. Based on this posting and prior social media musings in which he objectified journalist, Lauren Duca, and political pundit, Anna Kasperian, the government moved to revoke Shkreli’s bond. Shkreli’s response included a terse, personally signed letter in which he apologized to the Court and claimed that he “never intended to cause alarm or promote any act of violence whatsoever. . . . It never occurred to me that my awkward attempt at humor or satire would cause Mrs. Clinton or the Secret Service any distress.”

The Court rejected Shkreli’s explanation, noting that he could have unambiguously retracted the offer once the government flagged it. Instead, he commented: “$5,000 but the hair has to include a follicle. Do not assault anyone for any reason ever (LOLIBERALS).” The Court found that Shkreli’s statements amounted to “solicitation of assault in exchange for money,” a criminal act that warranted revocation of his bond under the Bail Reform Act.

The Take-Home 
Shkreli will remain in custody until his sentencing. What remains to be seen is how the bond revocation will affect the punishment he receives. Certainly, the bounty he offered for Mrs. Clinton’s hair and his prior incendiary statements towards women could support a prosecutorial argument that he is an unrepentant offender who poses a danger to the community and should be subject a harsher sentence than the Court would otherwise impose. 

However, the impending time in custody also presents an opportunity for Shkreli. Not only will he be locked up for the next few months, but he will be detained in an unaccommodating detention center and not the minimum security camp to which he will likely be designated, assuming he is sentenced to imprisonment. If he can use the time to positive effect and demonstrate to the Court that incarceration has humbled him, he could argue persuasively for a lesser sentence based on the revocation. 

What Happens Next?
Shkreli’s sentencing is presently set for January 16, 2018.

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