'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli begs for leniency

Martin Shkreli.
Martin Shkreli. Photo credit: Reuters

Martin Shkreli has promised he'll use his skills for the "betterment of humanity" if he's not jailed for 20 years.

The former pharmaceutical executive, best known for raising the cost of life-saving drug Daraprim by 5000 percent, is facing up to two decades in prison after being convicted of securities fraud.

In a submission to the judge, Shkreli's lawyer claimed the man dubbed 'Pharma Bro' had used his "fame and achievements" to help fellow prisoners, including paying for their families' medical treatments and giving them jobs.

It's claimed he saved the life of an 11-year-old baby in Venezuela by paying for much-needed medicine, and also consoled a rape victim he met online.

"We talked for what felt like hours," the woman wrote in a letter supplied to the judge. "He listened to me, calmed me down, helped me think and see straight, guided me toward what my next steps should be, encouraged me to call the police. And he let me cry."

The lawyer's letter also argues Shkreli was not "motivated by greed", and didn't intend to commit securities fraud.

Martin Shkreli on his way to court prior to being convicted.
Martin Shkreli on his way to court prior to being convicted. Photo credit: Reuters

Shkreli himself wrote in the letter he "ever actually intended to harm anyone".

"I have learned a very painful lesson... I was wrong. I was a fool. I should have known better."

He described himself as "an irreverent and free-wheeling individual, who has never been shy about speaking my mind", and the "public war of words" he waged on opponents in social media doesn't his "true nature".

"Sadly, when I get dragged into mud fight, I often dive in, head first. I pray Your Honor doesn't hold this behaviour against me or mistake it for my regular approach to life."

He went on to beg the sentencing judge not to impose a harsh sentence.

Shkreli has been incarcerated since December after he asked followers on Facebook to pull out Hillary Clinton's hair, offering $5000 per strand.

He was banned from Twitter in January 2017 for harassing a female journalist.

He made headlines in 2015 when he paid more than $2 million to purchase the only copy a new album by rap troupe the Wu-Tang Clan. He was ordered to hand it over by the authorities after he was convicted.

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