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Shkreli Hires New Lawyer, Wishes He Could Tangle With Congress

Feb. 2, 2016, 3:48 PM

By Anna Edney, Bloomberg News

Former drug executive Martin Shkreli, who is under investigation for securities fraud and the subject of a congressional inquiry, has replaced his legal team with Benjamin Brafman, the same lawyer who helped get rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs acquitted of gun and bribery charges in 2001.

The New York-based lawyer didn’t immediately return a voicemail and e-mail seeking comment about Shkreli. Brafman’s client list also includes Michael Jackson, Gambino crime family underboss Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano, rapper Jay Z and former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress. Shkreli announced the legal change during an interview with Fox Business News on Tuesday.

Shkreli is set to appear in court Wednesday for a routine appearance as part of the securities fraud charges against him related to several of his past businesses, which include hedge funds and the drug company Retrophin Inc.

“Obviously I think I’m innocent, and not guilty,” Shkreli said.

On Thursday, he is scheduled to appear before Congress for a hearing by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to discuss drug pricing. Shkreli said he plans to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to testify.

“I would love to talk to Congress,” Shkreli said. “I would berate them. I would insult them.” He is scheduled to appear because of his role as former chief executive officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals AG, which acquired a decades-old drug called Daraprim and raised the price by more than 50-fold. Shkreli said he plans to keep mum.

“They can ask me any question. ‘What color is the sky?’ Fifth Amendment.”

--With assistance from Patricia Hurtado.

For more news, visit Bloomberg Business .