Shkreli Seeks Early Prison Release to Help With Covid ‘Cure’

(Bloomberg) -- Martin Shkreli asked a federal judge to release him early from prison, saying he “has been conducting significant research into developing molecules to inhibit the coronavirus” and would continue doing so if set free.

Shkreli, who is scheduled to be released in October 2023, says he suffers from asthma and allergies which make him susceptible to contracting Covid-19 if he remains in prison. He was sentenced in March 2018 to seven years after being convicted of securities fraud for lying to investors in his hedge funds and manipulating shares in Retrophin Inc., a biotech company he founded.

Shkreli’s lawyers say his research into finding a cure for the coronavirus is a “compelling reason” to allow the 37-year-old to serve the remainder of his term at home.

The infamous “Pharma Bro,” who gained notoriety for unapologetically raising drug prices, was moved from a low-security camp in New Jersey last year after the Wall Street Journal reported he was using a contraband mobile phone to secretly run a pharmaceutical company and post on Twitter. He’s currently at FCI Allenwood, a more secure facility in Pennsylvania which has about 1,260 inmates. Visits have been halted at the facility, which has one confirmed case of the virus, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons website.

Prison infections have prompted many to request early release. Twenty-three federal inmates have died of the disease. As of April 21, 2020, there were 540 federal inmates and 323 staff members who have confirmed positive test results for Covid-19 nationwide, according to the government.

“Mr. Shkreli has spent countless hours while incarcerated researching disease treatments and possible cures for Covid-19,” his lawyers wrote. “His current project has been well received. One company is prepared to begin working on clinical trials of Mr. Shkreli’s work within weeks.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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