Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, appeared before the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. Shkreli, there to testify in a fact-finding hearing about rising drug prices, said little.
The boyish-faced Shkreli, arrested in December 2015 on federal charges of illegally taking stock from biotech company, Retrophin, a company he started in 2011, but was later ousted from. Allegedly, Shkreli used funds from the stocks to pay off his own business debts. The charges of security fraud resulted in a $5 million bail being set on the 32-year-old businessman.
Today’s Oversight Committee’s hearing had nothing to do with the federal charges Shkreli must answer to at a later date, but involved investigating drug prices. Still, on advice of his attorney, Shkreli pled the Fifth Amendment – his right against self-incrimination – rather than answering committee member’s questions. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) at one point reminded Shkreli that he could answer some of the committee’s questions without incriminating himself, to which Shkreli replied, “ I intend to follow the advice of my counsel, not yours.”
While ranking committee member Rep. Elijah Cummings spoke about the impact high drug prices have on consumers, Shkreli mocked Cummings’ words with various facial expressions.
When it became apparent that Shkreli would be adding no substance to the Oversight Committee’s meeting, he was allowed to leave. Shkreli’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, asked permission to address the committee before his client was dismissed, but Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) denied Brafman to do so.
After the hearing, Brafman explained Shkreli’s behavior as that of “nervous energy.” Shkreli, however, offered his own explanation via a statement on Twitter:
Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government.
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