Martin Shkreli (AKA US Prisoner # 87850-053) is seeking to get out of prison immediately and serve the rest of his sentence subject to home confinement.
Shkreli became famous and earned the derisive nickname, “Pharma Bro” after his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, acquired the rights to a drug used by AIDS patients, and hiked the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill.
Two years later, [August 2017] Shkreli, 36, was convicted of unrelated securities fraud. The feds alleged he engaged in an $11 million Ponzi scheme.
Recently, while in prison, Shkreli, 37, and several colleagues, on the outside, posted a scientific paper online that offers the promise that they might be able to develop a cure for COVID-19. They are conducting research into developing molecules to inhibit the coronavirus RdRp protein.
This week, Shkreli filed an emergency motion for an order granting him “compassionate release” permitting him to serve the remainder of his prison sentence at his fiancé’s Manhattan apartment, with electronic monitoring and with permission to work from home or at a specific local workplace as he researches treatment for the coronavirus disease.
He is represented by Benjamin Brafman, Marc Agnifilo, Teny Geragos, Andrea Zellan, and Jacob Kaplan.
Shkreli argues he has susceptibility to infection due to allergies and asthma and that it is likely he will soon be exposed to the virus and potentially become critically ill or die.
On August 4, 2017, a jury acquitted Shkreli of five of eight counts alleged in the Indictment against him and convicted him of three counts (two counts of Securities Fraud in a Class C felony and one count of Conspiracy to Commit Securities Fraud in violation of 18 USC 371, a Class D felony).
On September 13, 2017, Shkreli was remanded to custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn (MDC) while awaiting sentence. From September 13, 2017, to March 9, 2018, Shkreli was a pre-sentence inmate at the MDC.
On March 9, 2018, Shkreli was sentenced to 84 months confinement, three years supervised release, a $75,000 fine, $388,336 restitution, and a $300 assessment fine. He was also ordered to forfeit $7,360,450.
In April 2019, Shkreli was transferred to FCI Allenwood Low, where he is serving the remainder of his sentence. He has served half his sentence, with approximately 41 months remaining of his 84 month sentence. Shkreli’s projected release date is September 14, 2023.
Warden Said ‘No’
Shkreli requested release from the Warden of the Allenwood prison who has denied it.
Here are the reasons to release Shkreli, according to his attorneys, which they hope the judge will find persuasive:
- COVID-19 has not yet swept through Allenwood. However, two weeks ago, Butner FCI had zero infected inmates and as of April 19, 2020, it has 48 infected inmates, 28 positive staff and 4 inmate deaths. It is likely coming to Allenwood.
- Prisoners live in close living quarters and are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
- The risk to prisoners is higher than the risk to the general public due to the living quarters and the inability to control spread within those living quarters.
- Prisoners may not be able to regularly wash their hands, which may promote the spread of disease.
- Shkreli is residing in his dorm at Allenwood Low in a 12′ x 12′ cubicle with two other people. Sleeping spaces within that cubicle are separated by only a few feet.
- Approximately 200 men are sharing five to six functioning toilets.
- This does not permit for social distancing or hand washing.
- Computer and phone stations, inmates only way to connect with family other than mail, are within six feet of one another and the inmates are within six feet of one another as they wait in line for their turn to use the computer or phone.
- Access to cleaning supplies is limited.
- Crowding problems are often compounded by inadequate sanitation, such as a lack of hand sanitizer or sufficient opportunities to wash hands.
- Medical treatment capacity is not at the same level in a correctional setting as it is in a hospital. If Shkreli gets sick, the treatment won’t be as good and he might die.
- State and local governments have begun releasing prisoners because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Courts around the country are also heeding the Attorney General’s advice and releasing prisoners based on this public health crisis.
- Shkreli faces possible, even likely infection, and potential death in prison due to his underlying severe allergies.
- This risk can be mitigated by release to strict home confinement and isolation.
- No matter what steps the BOP takes at Allenwood Low, too many people are living in too close proximity to one another to be able to prevent the infestation of the facility by this virus.
- Allowing Shkreli to serve the remainder of his prison sentence in home confinement, where he will isolate himself, will best ensure that he will not get infected with the coronavirus.
- Shkreli’ s immediate release from prison would not pose a danger to the safety of any other person or the community.
- Shkreli is a first-time offender of a non-violent offense.
- He is barred as an investment advisor by the SEC and cannot invest or manage anyone else’s money.
- Shkreli’s social media activity in September 2017, [including his offer to pay $5,000 for someone to get a assault Hillary Clinton and get a lock of her hair] will not pose a problem now. Shkreli’s is willing to submit to supervision of his on-line activity by the Department of Probation while on home confinement.
- Within the last several months, Shkreli has devoted “countless hours” to developing a potential cure for COVID-19. His work is at a preliminary stage.
- Shkreli is not coming at COVID-19 as a novice in this world.
- Shkreli has committed his life’s work to the life sciences and the rare disease community developing patents and initiating drug trials to help cure those with debilitating conditions.
- His release would potentially help those who are suffering through medical related issues through the pandemic, as he is a skilled medical researcher.
- Shkreli has a capacity to perform research to develop life-saving drugs.
- He is committed to conducting research focusing on a drug that could bring relief and treatment to people suffering from COVID19. His ideas have been made available to the public on the Prospero Pharmaceuticals home page.
- They have been reviewed by a former colleague at Retrophin and a renowned computational chemist currently employed and is eager to work with Shkreli.
- Very few companies have come forward and said they will make actual antivirals for COVID-19. They have said they will make vaccines, but not cures for those infected. Shkreli is trying and he may succeed.
- He has no chance to succeed if he remains incarcerated, in lockdown, unable to communicate and work with colleagues in the research community.
- A pharmaceutical company IS preparing to contract with Prospero to conduct development testing and clinical trials of potential anti-viral drugs to treat COVID-19 based on work discussed in Shkreli’ s paper for Prospero.
- There is little to no likelihood that he will commit another crime, especially if he will be in home confinement and subject to GPS monitoring and supervised release.
- Shkreli’s compassionate release will not send a message that white-collar crime does pay. He has already faced incarceration, financial consequences, civil litigation and loss of reputation and friendships.
- Shkreli could devote all of his time developing antiviral treatments for those suffering and contribute to curtailing the pandemic.
- Confinement threatens his health and life and prevents him from doing work that would contribute to the betterment of society.
- Prisons all around this country have been releasing prisoners based on the coronavirus pandemic.
- Consequently, the Court should do the same for Shkreli and order that he be released immediately to home confinement.
Read the entire argument for Shkreli’s release here.