After his client refused to do anything but plea the fifth during Congressional testimony on Thursday, Ben Brafman — the lawyer representing former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli — took to CNBC to defend his client.
“I think they invited him just to embarrass him,” he said, comparing his position to that of Robert Duvall’s character in Godfather 2.
(In case you haven’t see the movie, Duvall defended the Godfather when the government had him in the hotseat for mafia-related charges.)
“It’s my business to give my client advice,” Brafman told CNBC’s Kelly Evans. “They [Congressmen] did not want to hear from me because they did not want to hear what I had to say.”
Brafman, who is Shkreli’s personal counsel, said that the hearing was “a show” meant to publicly embarrass Shkreli when he could have just sent in a written statement.
Brafman is no joke. He has defended Puff Daddy, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and other high-profile clients.
He now finds himself defending Martin Shkreli, a 30-something former CEO who came into the public consciousness after he bought a life-saving AIDS drug called Daraprim and jacked the price up 5,000%. He was then arrested for unrelated charges in New York State.
After Shkreli was escorted out of his Congressional hearing, Brafman told reporters outside the Capitol that eventually people would come to realise that Shkreli is “not a villain, but a hero.”
“The Martin Shkreli that I know is a genius,” he said on CNBC. He also said if he had known Shkreli a year ago he would have advised him to raise the price of Daraprim gradually, not all at once.
After leaving the hearing, Shkreli tweeted insults at Congress. Brafman chalked that up to “youthful inexperience.”
“He’s not a bad kid,” Brafman said, adding “I think he’s done nothing wrong. I think he needs guidance and good counsel.”
Sidenote: He calls Shkreli, “Marty,” and says Shkreli has amazing ideas the world has yet to know about.
“He raised the price on it [Daraprim] to spend the money on further research and development for other drugs,” Brafman said.
“The problem with the securities industry is that it’s the single most regulated industry in the world,” he continued. “Unless you surround yourself with people who know what they’re doing, you can really get in trouble, and that’s what happened here.”
CNBC’s Kelly Evans asked if we would continue seeing so much Shkreli on social media.
“I hope not,” Brafman said, adding that it’s hard for Shkreli to unplug because he has so many fans and supporters online.
A few minutes later, Shkreli tweeted that he would be video chatting.
Video chatting on Blab https://t.co/RT5sk9SDvD
— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) February 4, 2016
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