A federal judge denied imprisoned former pharmaceutical exec Martin Shkreli's request to be released so he could work on a coronavirus treatment. The disgraced "pharma bro" is serving a seven-year sentence for securities fraud.
US District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto's ruling noted that probation officials said his claim was the kind of "delusional self-aggrandizing behavior" that got him convicted, as a COVID-19 cure has eluded "the best medical and scientific minds in the world" so far.
Shkreli asked for a three-month furlough to a New York City apartment so he could help with research. However, the judge said he doesn't meet the criteria for moving vulnerable inmates during the pandemic -- the prison he's in doesn't have any reported cases of COVID-19, and New York City is the epicenter of the outbreak.
"The court does not find that releasing Mr. Shkreli will protect the public" Matsumoto wrote.
Shkreli became infamous in 2015 for increasing the price of Turing Pharmaceuticals' AIDS drug Daraprim by 5,000 percent to $750 a pill. Two years later, he was found guilty of defrauding investors in his hedge funds.
The new strain of coronavirus, which can develop into a respiratory illness known as COVID-19, was discovered in Wuhan, China, in December and has spread worldwide in the months since. As of Monday morning, it has infected more than 4.7 million people and caused nearly 315,000 deaths globally.
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