NEW YORK — Don’t necessarily believe everything Martin Shkreli tweets or posts on other social media outlets, the pharmaceutical entrepreneur’s lead defense attorney told a court Monday.
Speaking one week before Shkreli is scheduled to stand trial on fraud charges, defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman suggested that his client had made some promises that shouldn’t be taken at face value. He made the statement after federal prosecutors argued that Shkreli’s social media posts appeared to show he had plenty of available cash.
They cited one social media post in which Shkreli pledged $40,000 to Yuan Wang, a recent Princeton University graduate who correctly solved a mathematical proof the businessman had posed as a challenge. Similarly, Shkreli similarly used Facebook to offer $100,000 for information leading to the “killer” of Seth Rich, a former Democratic National Committee staffer whose cause of death has become the subject of political debate.
“Tweeting has become, unfortunately, fashionable,” Brafman told the court. “When people tweet, they don’t always mean what they say.”
He made the statement during legal arguments over whether U.S. District Court Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, should cut Shkreli’s bail in the case from $5 million to $2 million. The judge reserved his decision, pending more information on the request for access to cash that Brafman said Shkreli would use to pay lawyers and accountants, as well as to make partial payments on millions of dollars owed in federal and New York state tax claims.
Brafman also said Shkreli — best known in much of the U.S.as the former pharmaceutical executive who raised the price of a potentially lifesaving drug for those with the AIDS virus from $13.50 to $750, a 5,000% hike — as someone who is “traveling to the beat of a very unique drummer.”
Shkreli still has…