A judge orders Martin Shkreli to zip it -- after Twitter shuts down his latest online account
A federal judge told Martin Shkreli to shut up about his securities fraud case while he’s in and around the courthouse. And just before lawyers argued over a prospective gag order, Twitter shut and locked the back door Shkreli had evidently found to worm his way back onto the social media platform.
Early this morning I noticed that@BLMBro is now missing in action, suspended by the powers that be at Twitter, which had banned Shkreli after he began harassing a freelance journalist.
Over the weekend, The New York Times identified @BLMBro as his latest Twitter handle, where he has enjoyed roasting critics and being praised by his fans for his opinions on virtually everything. The 34-year-old is on trial for defrauding investors, but he’s far better known for jacking the price of a generic drug by more than 5000%.
Shkreli managed to surprise just about everyone by ambling into the press area on Friday to chat with reporters covering his trial, slamming the prosecutors as “junior varsity,” mocking the first witness for the prosecution and shredding the air of quiet that the defense expects from their clients during the course of a trial. Prosecutors want it to stop, demanding that the defendant be gagged — something that no one has yet managed to do.
“Unfortunately, despite the assurances of defense counsel prior to trial—as well as efforts by defense counsel to control Shkreli—once the jury was selected and empaneled, Shkreli 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, according to The Daily Beast.
Shkreli’s attorney already has pushed back against the gag order, according to CNBC, arguing that the ex-Retrophin CEO isn’t trying to harm the integrity of the proceedings.
“Rather his comments are the somewhat natural, though unfortunate, consequence of a young man with a demonstrated history of significant anxiety being at the center of a supremely difficult time in his life,” Benjamin Brafman wrote, according to CNBC. Shkreli feels he’s been unfairly targeted by the feds, adds the attorney, and journalists frequently focus on the negative when it comes to their coverage. “Having said that, we also note that Mr. Shkreli is under enormous pressure that is compounded by his clearly frail emotional state.”
Prosecutors also revealed this morning that Shkreli’s defense team had asked about a plea deal, the latest in a series of contradictions Shkreli has faced in the courtroom.
Shkreli, for his part, still routinely takes to live streams and any other public stages to expound on the case, investing, news coverage of his trial and more.
But Twitter is once again off limits.