Justice

Congress Just Humiliated Martin Shkreli

Former hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli was finally called to testify before Congress on Thursday at a hearing about pharmaceutical industry's drug pricing practices. Rather than offer his testimony on the issue, though, Shkreli smirked and kept silent upon the advice of his lawyer. The questions he received (and refused to answer) proved a bit embarrassing for the so-called Pharma Bro.

Shkreli

Shkreli, the disgraced former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, was called before Congress to talk about his role in purchasing and then jacking the price of the AIDS drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per tablet.

But Shkreli had other reasons for holding his tongue. (Though he became the face of pharmaceutical greed for raising the price of a lifesaving AIDS drug last year, his earlier role as a hedge fund manager subjected him to a federal inquiry that reached a climax in December when he was arrested on fraud charges by FBI agents.)

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Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) wondered out loud how Shkreli could justify invoking his fifth amendment right when the subject matter was unrelated to a federal case against him for fraud.


"He didn't have to be prodded to talk during [media interviews], doesn't have to be prodded to tweet a whole lot or show us his life on that little webcam he's got," Gowdy said, "so this is a great opportunity if you want to educate the members of Congress about drug pricing or what you called the fictitious case against you."

Then Gowdy raised attention to one of the many elephants in the room — Shkreli's $2 million purchase of the sole copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album — a question that, again, left Shkreli speechless.

"On the advice of my counsel, I invoke my fifth amendment privilege against self-incrimination and respectfully decline to answer your question," Shkreli said.

Trey Gowdy asks Martin Shkreli about Wu-Tang Clan album. Watch full video here: http://cs.pn/1UNC5yC

Posted by C-SPAN on Thursday, February 4, 2016

"I am stunned that a conversation about an album he purchased could possibly subject him to incrimination," Gowdy said.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) told Shkreli that "[y]ou can look away if you like, but you should see the faces of the people you affect. You are known as one of the bad boys of pharma." He requested that Shkreli be escorted out of the federal building.

Shkreli sent out an insulting tweet following the hearing, saying that it was "[h]ard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government."

Shkreli is next due in court for his hedge fund-related fraud charges on May 3.