Martin Shkreli's own criminal defense lawyer called the pharma bro's "Twitter history ... just horrific" during jury selection Tuesday for his trial on securities fraud charges.
That blunt comment from high-powered attorney Benjamin Brafman came when he argued that a potential juror who said he had seen "some of the defamation comments" Shkreli made on Twitter should be barred from the jury.
"Unfortunately, the Twitter history is just horrific," Brafman told Judge Kiyo Matsumoto in Brooklyn, New York, federal court, according to a pool press reporter listening in on the exchange.
"The Twitter is probably the most prejudicial part of Mr. Shrekli's [case]," Brafman said.
Shkreli, 34, had a long history of caustic, insulting comments on Twitter before he was banned by the social media service this year for harassing a female journalist.
Brafman succeeded in booting the Twitter-reading prospective juror, an employee of a media company, from the panel, despite the man saying he did not believe his knowledge of Shkreli's obnoxious tweets would bias him against the defendant..
The second day of jury selection in the securities fraud trial ended without any jurors being seated.
However, Matsumoto did manage to start questioning a remaining pool of several dozen prospective jurors about whether they knew any potential witnesses in the case, or about any of the drug companies, financial firms or law firms that might be mentioned during the trial.
They also were asked if they had experience with law enforcement and the court system that could bias their views toward Shkreli, and whether they had seen any stories about comments made by other prospective jurors who had negative opinions of him.
One woman was excused, albeit for a medical condition, after saying she had seen a headline referring to Shkreli as a "snake."
"I'm trying to erase that from my head," she said.
Jury selection will resume Wednesday. Most of the questioning of jurors was conducted at a so-called sidebar by the judge, with prosecutors and defense lawyers, as well as a pool reporting, listening in. The arrangement keeps other prospective jurors, Shkreli, and others in the courtroom from hearing the questions and answers.
Shkreli has pleaded not guilty to charges of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud. Prosecutors claim he ripped off his former drug company Retrophin for millions of dollars to repay investors defrauded at his hedge funds.
The charges are unrelated to either Shkreli's other drug company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, or to the public outrage that erupted after Turing raise the price of the antiparasite drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill in 2015.
The witness list read aloud by Matsumoto included investors who had placed money with Shkreli, and with several members of Shkreli's family. Among the was his father, who sat in the courtroom gallery Tuesday.
Potential jurors also were asked if they had ever heard of Daraprim. None of the prospective jurors raised their hands.