NEW YORK – That’s another no for the “Pharma Bro.”
A federal judge has rejected convicted pharmaceutical executive’s Martin Shkreli’s second request to be let out of prison early, showing skepticism about his claim in court papers that mental health issues have weakened his immune system and made him more susceptible to contracting the coronavirus.
U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto said in a 12-page ruling on Friday that Shkreli again failed to demonstrate extraordinary and compelling factors that would require a sentence modification, such as release under home confinement rules designed to move vulnerable inmates out of institutions during the pandemic.
Matsumoto, the same judge who ruled against Shkreli in May, said the 37-year-old presented no evidence to support his claims and that a mental health practitioner who evaluated him found him to be stable.
Matsumoto also rejected the argument that Shkreli should be let out because coronavirus-related lockdowns were impeding his ability to communicate with the lawyers representing him in a civil lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission. Matsumoto noted that Shkreli recently had a two-hour Zoom session with his lawyers, as well as several phone calls up to an hour in length.
Shkreli’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, declined to comment.
The low-security prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, where Shkreli is locked up has seen an increase in coronavirus cases among inmates and staff, with 26 inmates and 14 staff members currently testing positive.
Prosecutors said that, as of Jan. 6, there were no positive cases in Shkreli’s housing unit. In her ruling, Matsumoto wrote that Shkreli is a “relatively young and healthy man” and won’t be at high risk of severe complications if he were to contract the disease.