Martin Shkreli goes to Washington—and refuses to say anything to Congress
- Martin Skhreli was silent as he left his pretrial hearing in Brooklyn with his new lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, on Wednesday. And he wasn't a whole lot more talkative during his much-anticipated testimony in front of the House Committee on Government and Oversight on Thursday morning.
- Shkreli is infamous not only for the price-gouging scandal associated with Daraprim while he was CEO of Turing Pharma, but also his recent federal indictment on securities and wire fraud charges.
- Shkreli is infamous for his use of social media to rant against his detractors and against anyone who challenges him, such as members of Congress, who he said he would like to "insult." But under questioning by Oversight Committee chair Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and Trey Gowdy (R-SC) on Thursday, Shkreli repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and refused to answer questions related to the Daraprim price hike.
- Gowdy pointed out that the questioning did not center on his ongoing federal case and that he could reply if he wanted to. After Chaffetz dismissed Shkreli from the hearing due to his non-answers, some members raised the specter of holding Shkreli in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify.
Brafman pulled off a major feat by getting Shkreli to refrain from media outbursts after his hearing on Wednesday. Brafman's rationale is that the case should be tried in the courtroom and not in the media. However, beneath that statement lurks another truth: If Shkreli is allowed to speak without a filter, he could end up incriminating himself more.
Shkreli took his counsel's advice to heart in front of Congress. But shortly after, he was back to his usual tactics on social media:
Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government.— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) February 4, 2016
Other witnesses at the hearing included the FDA's Dr. Janet Woodcock, Valeant interim CEO Howard Schiller, and Turing Pharma commercial chief Nancy Retzlaff. Those individuals actually did field a range of questions about drug pricing, competition, and price hikes. Stay tuned for our writeup of the full hearing (which is still ongoing as of press time).