(CBS SF) — Former pharmaceuticals company CEO Martin Shkreli has had his bail revoked and is going to jail in New York over a social media threat directed at Hillary Clinton.
A judge at a Wednesday hearing sided with a government demand to jail Shkreli following his provocative online antics. Shkreli is awaiting sentencing for a securities fraud conviction
Shkreli’s defense argued in court papers filed Tuesday his recent offer to pay a $5,000 bounty for a Hillary Clinton hair with the follicle falls under the category of “political satire or strained humor.” The government called the comments threats worthy of revoking the bail of the so-called Pharma Bro.
Prosecutors said the threat required “significant expenditure of resources by the U.S. Secret Service,” prosecutors said, adding that there was risk that one of Shkreli’s many social media followers would take his statements seriously.
The judge who revoked Shkreli’s bail said his offer to pay for Clinton’s hair was not protected by the First Amendment and was “solicitation of an assault.”
The judge also agreed there’s “a risk someone may take” Shkreli up on his offer.
“Since his conviction on August 4, 2017, Shkreli has engaged in an escalating pattern of threats and harassment that warrant his detention pending sentencing,” prosecutors wrote in their motion.
Prosecutors also cited several other Twitter and social media postings by Shkreli that they said were harassing to women.
“However inappropriate some of Mr. Shkreli’s postings may have been, we do not believe that he intended harm and do not believe that he poses a danger to the community,” Shkreli’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said in a statement.
Shkreli, best known for hiking up the price of a life-saving drug and for trolling his critics on social media, has been out on bail since a jury found him guilty of deceiving investors in two failed hedge funds he ran. The defense had argued that investors got their original investments back and even made hefty profits.
The 34-year-old defendant faces up to 20 years in prison, though the term could be much lower under sentencing guidelines.