Ben Brafman is not just any defense lawyer. His past clients include Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, former NFL player Plaxico Burress and Michael Jackson. So when it comes to Martin Shrkeli, he told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo: “I’ve represented personalities a lot more difficult.”
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Last week, Shkreli’s wild ride began after he was called out and thrown into the ‘’hot seat” at a Congressional inquiry regarding raising prices of the AIDS drug Daraprim by 5,000%. He was also brought to court and has denied securities fraud charges -- a case Brafman refused to deliberate.
“There’s a lot about Martin Shkreli that’s been said in public that I think can be discussed, but we are going to stay away from the criminal case itself. I think when the facts come out at the trial, assuming there is a trial, I think there is a substantially different view of what happened than what was alleged.”
When it comes to price gouging, Brafman said Shkreli was only brought in front of Congress to be publicly humiliated.
“My personal opinion is that the members of the committee could care less (about price gouging). I think this was for them -- a show trial having Martin Shkreli take the Fifth Amendment. Nancy Rezlaff, who’s a Turing Pharmaceuticals executive, was sitting there. She’s not under indictment. She wasn’t going to invoke. She could answer every question -- and did answer every question,” he said.
Brafman defended Shkreli’s actions after he was criticized for smirking during the hearing and tweeting out disparaging remarks about Congress afterward.
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“I think he was respectful. He’s 32 years old -- he’s never been in that position. It’s a hostile environment. I think the committee was not acting in good faith, in my judgment. They knew he was going to invoke, and I think they brought him there not to get information about Turing’s increase in the price of Daraprim-- they brought him there to publicly humiliate him -- and when you’re 32 and have 75 cameras staring you in the face, sometimes a smile or a smirk is a product of nervous energy and I think he was angry.”
He also discussed why he would have advised Shkreli to gradually increase the price of Daraprim.
“To my knowledge, no one who has tried to get the drug has been denied access to it because they couldn’t afford it. Everyone has had the drug who has needed it and there [is] only a patient population of 3,000 people [that] use this drug that works perfectly, after 40 days the patient is cured. So there has been a lot written about Daraprim which has really never focused on the fact that there’s a small patient population and big pharmaceutical companies ignore these orphan drugs because there is a small patient population.”
When asked about knowing Shkreli on a personal level Brafman said, “I find him to be intensely brilliant. I think he is extremely focused on clearing his name. He believes he’s done nothing wrong and I think he grows on you. I think Martin has some very likeable qualities when you get to know him.”