Prisoners nationwide have sought release during the coronavirus pandemic, as correctional centers turn into hot spots for the virus. But Shkreli’s request was unusual: Last month, his attorney asked federal authorities to release him to his fiancee’s New York City apartment so he could perform lab work.
In a separate research proposal posted online, Shkreli, 37, said that the pharmaceutical industry’s efforts to create a treatment for covid-19 are “inadequate” and that he is “one of the few executives experienced in ALL aspects of drug development.”
In their review of Shkreli’s request for a three-month release under “strict supervision,” the probation department overseeing his case marveled at Shkreli’s claim that he could find a covid-19 cure that has “so far eluded the best medical and scientific minds in the world working around the clock.”
It’s that type of thinking that landed him in prison, the department said, according to U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto’s nine-page ruling issued Saturday. The disgraced executive has repeatedly flouted authorities and seemed to revel in even a critical national spotlight; he famously smirked at a congressional hearing on drug price-gouging and live-streamed to supporters the day after his first arrest.
In her denial of the furlough request, Matsumoto wrote that Shkreli was “healthy,” that he had no “recent history of preexisting medical conditions that place him at higher risk” and that no cases of the virus have been reported at the prison.
“Defendant requests to be released into, among other places, an apartment in New York City, the epicenter of the covid-19 pandemic,” Matsumoto wrote.
Ben Brafman, Shkreli’s attorney, said in a statement Sunday that they were “disappointed” by the decision but that it was “not unexpected.”
Derek Hawkins contributed to this report.