By Christie Smythe, Bloomberg News
Last month 12 jurors said they found enough evidence to convict lawyer Evan Greebel of conspiring with Martin Shkreli in fraud schemes. By the next day, one member of the panel had second thoughts.
A federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, must decide whether the juror’s doubts are enough to reopen the case.
The unidentified juror said that he “wanted to look at more evidence” during deliberations, said U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, relaying details of the Dec. 28 discussion between the juror and the judge’s clerk. But other members of the panel told the juror they “would have him removed” if he pressed his request, she said.
The details of the juror’s call were made public on Friday as defense lawyers raised allegations of misconduct during deliberations in the trial of Greebel, a former corporate lawyer who advised Shkreli’s companies. The juror was questioned in secret by the judge on Friday with only Greebel, his lawyers and prosecutors present.
Matsumoto’s findings weren’t made public and a transcript of the discussion was sealed.
The judge cautioned that verdicts can only be called into question for juror misconduct in extreme cases, such as when violence is threatened. If there is severe misconduct, a verdict could be thrown out. The misconduct allegations may lead Greebel’s lawyers to seek a new trial or provide them with a basis for an appeal.
Several jurors read coverage about Shkreli during the trial, possibly influencing their decision, Greebel’s lawyers said. Another juror was dismissed after she was found to have posted comments about the case on an Instagram account.
“We know the jurors read media reports,” Joshua Dubin, a lawyer for Greebel, told the judge Friday. “Just because they gave up 10 weeks of their lives doesn’t mean they can thumb their nose at the court.”
Lawyers for Greebel previously expressed concerns that jurors could be biased against their client because of his association with Shkreli, who was convicted of fraud and conspiracy in August after a separate trial. Shkreli became a target of widespread public outrage for aggressive drug pricing tactics in 2015. He inflamed public opinion further with brash comments and social media stunts.
Although he has been jailed since September, Shkreli has continued to make headlines. Dubin told reporters after the hearing that jurors had read news about prosecutors potentially seizing a one-of-a-kind album by New York rap group the Wu-Tang Clan, which Shkreli bought in 2015 for $2 million, making it the most expensive musical work ever sold.
“Several jurors had read those reports and failed to report those things to the court,” Dubin said.
Dubin declined to comment on what the judge said under seal, but added that lawyers would continue probing the misconduct allegations.
“We do intend to speak to other jurors and find out what happened,” Dubin said.
The case is U.S. v. Shkreli, 15-cr-637, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).