Accused fraudster Martin Shkreli's former lawyer, current co-defendant Evan Greebel blasts him as serial liar in bid for separate trials

Martin Shkreli, chief executive officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC, center, and attorney Evan Greebel, left, exit federal court in New York, on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015.
Peter Foley | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Accused securities scammer Martin Shkreli's co-defendant said Shkreli is a serial liar who "is guilty of committing fraud" — and is creating a media "circus" to distract jurors from the evidence against him.

In scathing new court filings seeking to be tried separately from Shkreli, the former corporate lawyer for Shkreli's company claims the pharma bro's chronic lies included misleading his own business lawyers — and also said he used them as unwitting "pawns" in his "fraudulent schemes."

In addition, Shkreli, 33, has a long-term pattern and practice of blaming others for his own misconduct, according to criminal defense lawyers for his co-defendant, Evan Greebel.

Those lawyers go on to say that the "bizarre, one-of-a-kind spectacle" that Shkreli has created since his arrest — which includes trolling Hillary Clinton, journalists, women, celebrities and government officials — is an intentional effort to "become more polarizing" among the public and potential jurors for his trial so that he will win acquittal.

"Nothing has been able to stop — and nothing will be able to stop — Mr. Shkreli from trying to turn this trial into a circus as part of a deliberate strategy to obtain jury nullification rather than have the jury focus on and carefully consider the evidence," said the filing by Greebel's lawyers.

Martin Shkreli takes on Congress
Martin Shkreli takes on Congress

The term jury nullification refers to when jurors acquit a defendant even when they believe he is guilty of charged crimes.

The sensational allegations are contained in documents filed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York.

The two men face an upcoming trial in that court on charges they conspired to loot a drug company that Shkreli founded, Retrophin, out of millions of dollars, in part to pay off investors that Shkreli was accused of defrauding at hedge funds that he ran.

Shkreli's lawyer Benjamin Brafman also has filed a new motion to sever the trials, citing the dueling versions of reality offered by the two men.

In that new motion, Brafman wrote that "Martin Shkreli maintains his complete innocence."

"The evidence will show that he did not defraud, steal, lie, or cheat anyone out of money, and that he devoted his best efforts to bringing value to his investors," Brafman wrote.

Brafman said that Greebel's argument about being misled by Shkreli is "patently unfounded and flatly contradicted by the written communications between Shkreli and Greebel as well as other evidence."

Greebel's defense, according to Brafman, is "unfortunate, disingenuous and unfounded."

Brafman told CNBC in a statement, "We believe that it would be quite impossible for either Defendant to get a fair trial if tried together."

"As for Greebel's efforts to try and distance himself from Martin's legal issues,‎ the fact is that Greebel and his firm billed Martin almost $10 million for legal advice during the very period in question," Brafman said in an email. "If not giving him counsel, he should return the money!"

The accusations in the pending criminal case are unrelated to the controversy that first brought Shkreli national notoriety: his having hiked the price of an antiparasite drug by more than 5,000 percent after acquiring it for his other company, Turing Pharmaceuticals.

Greebel is accused of two criminal counts: conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Shkreli is accused of those counts, as well as six others.

Shkreli has pleaded not guilty to the charges, as has Greebel. Greebel's filing notes that the two men disagree about whether Greebel was Shkreli's lawyer — as Shkreli claims — or solely counsel for Retrophin, as Greebel says.

Shkreli's criminal defense lawyers said they will, at trial, mount a so-called reliance on counsel defense. That means Shkreli will claim he is innocent because his alleged criminal actions were committed after his own civil lawyers told them they were legal.

In his filing for Shkreli, Brafman noted the large legal fees paid Evan Greebel and his law firm, and also says that Shkreli spoke and emailed with Greebel and other lawyers "virtually every day, often dozens of times per day," on every topic facing Shkreli's business. The filing cited "tens of thousands of emails" between Shkreli and Greebel.

"Greebel provided legal advice and insight to Shkreli, which Shkreli followed faithfully," Brafman wrote. "Because Shkreli relied closely on his experienced legal counsel and other attorneys at the firm, Shkreli has a valid 'reliance on counsel' defense."

In their own new legal filing, Greebel's lawyers argue that having him tried with Shkreli would seriously compromise his right to a fair trial, particularly since the two men "have mutually antagonistic and irreconcilable defenses."

The filing said that because of those dueling defenses, "there will be no realistic way for a jury to find both defendants not guilty."

"We will be arguing to the jury that, among other things, Mr. Shkreli is guilty of committing fraud and that Mr. Greebel is not guilty of the charges against him," wrote Greebel's lawyer Reed Brodsky.

In a related document, Brodsky wrote, "United States v. Martin Shkreli and Evan Greebel is the quintessential case that requires severance."

"We will present strong evidence that Mr. Shkreli repeatedly lied to, misled, and omitted material information from Mr. Greebel and other attorneys at Katten Muchin Rosenman," Brodsky wrote, reffering to Greebel's former law firm.

"Indeed, we will demonstrate that Mr. Greebel was an unknowing pawn in a fraud about which Mr. Greebel was unaware," Brodsky wrote.

"We will also demonstrate ... that Mr. Shkreli is seeking to have Mr. Greebel found responsible for his own misconduct in the same way that, over the years, he has repeatedly shifted the blame for himself to anyone and everyone around him."

The filing said that Greebel's lawyers will also argue that Shkreli told third-parties that he had obtained legal advice from Greebel and other lawyers at Katten Muchin when he actually had not received any such counsel.

The filing lists several examples of Shkreli allegedly lying, including one instance in which Shkreli told Greebel that a former Retrophin director was making an "equity investment" in the company, when in fact that man was making a loan to Retrophin.

Brodsky also wrote that, "If asked whether during the period from 2011 through 2014, how Mr. Greebel has come to learn that Mr. Shkreli lied to him, I anticipate that Mr. Greebel would answer that he discovered these lies from his review of documents produced in discovery in this case that he had never seen before prior to the charges filed against him."

The filing for Greebel's motion for severance notes that he comes "from a long line of attorneys going back at least three generations, including his father and grandfather."

"He is a family man, husband, and father of three young children," the filing said.

"The dichotomy between the charged codefendants is stark."

The filing said that Shkreli has a "plan of creating chaos to distract the jury's attention away from the evidence and obtain jury nullification."

"Unlike any other case that we have been able to identify in history, Mr. Shkreli has a stated plan — corroborated by his repeated post-arrest actions — to disrupt the criminal trial, instill confusion, taint the jury, and apparently seek jury nullification," court documents argue.

Greebel's lawyers argue that because of Shkreli's notoriety, as well as his post-arrest actions and statements, "Mr. Greebel will be deprived of his right to a fair trial."

Their filing argues that while Shkreli has an "extraordinary amount of negative notoriety," Greebel "has absolutely no notoriety."

The filing notes that Shkreli, in a Financial Times interview last November, admitted to having a plan "to make the case 'more polarizing and popular' by creating a circus-like atmosphere and encouraging hostile publicity."

"And he admitted that his goal is to create the same kind of chaos that surrounded the OJ Simpson, Casey Anthony and Sean 'P Diddy' [C]ombs trials to obtain an acquittal as the defendants did in those cases," the filing said.

The Financial Times quoted Shkreli as saying, "I have this fringe theory that I've sort of stress-tested a little bit — the more polarizing and popular a case is, the more likely an acquittal," the filing noted.

After citing the Simpson, Anthony, and Combs' acquittals, Shkreli said, "What's fascinating for all these cases? They were all widely seen to be guilty," the filing noted.

Greebel's lawyers argued in their filing that "as part of his calculated effort to become 'more polarizing,' Mr. Shkreli has engaged and continues to engage an almost-daily, if not hourly, basis in deeply offensive attacks on women, the media, public figures and government officials."

An attached exhibit, the filing noted, identifies about "75 examples of news articles, social media reports and video and audio recordings" that reflect "Shkreli's ongoing and deliberate efforts since his arrest to spread hate and hostility."

The filing said that Shkreli's attacks "on women have been extreme, hostile, and unrelenting."

Among them, the filing noted, is Shkreli saying on an online live-stream two days after his arrests that "he would let pop star Taylor Swift listen to an unreleased Wu-Tang Clan album he owns 'in exchange for sexual favors.' "

Shkreli also tweeted on Election Day last fall that he was the "new right-wing boyfriend" of pop star Katy Perry after she tweeted that she was going to cry about the presidential election results.

"Most recently, Mr. Shkreli sexually harassed a married Teen Vogue writer, inviting her to attend the presidential inauguration with him and flooding his Twitter feed with engineered photographs of them together on which he emblazoned ' 'Till Death Do Us Part,' " the filing said.

Shkreli has also "taunted Stephen Colbert with a homophobic slur," and taunted and heckled Hillary Clinton outside her daughter's home after she became ill at a Sept. 11 memorial event last year.

In his own filings, Shkreli's lawyer Brafman painted a picture of Shkreli as a child of "working-class Albanian parents," who was "raised in a modest Brooklyn apartment."

While attending Hunter College High School, "his brilliance and ambition were obvious," the filing said.

The filing goes on to say that while working in a mail room of a hedge fund founded by CNBC's Jim Cramer "[Shkreli] showed a knack for understanding biotech stocks," and had earlier "taught himself the complex chemistry and biology necessary to learn why certain drugs are effective and why others fail."