One of the most hated men in America today didn’t score himself any more points during his high-profile appearance in Washington, DC. Martin Shkreli has been hard at work losing friends and distancing people by constantly tweeting attacks against anyone who falls into his crosshairs.
What some have called bravado in the face of major legal issues is fast becoming a major PR crisis for the already problematic Shkreli. The embattled and indicted former pharmaceutical CEO is currently facing criminal charges for securities fraud. Almost everyone with a cursory knowledge of the case seems to be of the opinion that the indictment is just desserts for the CEO, who made international headlines for jacking up the price of lifesaving drugs about 5,000 percent.
Now Shkreli’s new lawyer, celebrity counselor Ben Brafman, is working overtime trying to explain away the former CEO’s brash and insulting language and manner.
You would think that someone who was forced to appear before a Congressional committee to answer for drug price gouging would exercise a bit more tact. But almost immediately after exiting the hearing, Shkreli had his phone out, calling lawmakers “imbeciles” on Twitter. Brafman jumped to his defense, calling the missive a poor choice. Maybe his client should have done what he did in the hearing, where he remained mostly quiet, often citing his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination. Many times during the hearing, Shkrelialso appeared smug, often smirking.
An exasperated Brafman told the media: “You cannot change a person, you can only advise a person.”
But that’s Brafman’s cross to bear. Shkreli’s very negative public perception hurt him in Congress, will likely hurt him in court, and is destroying any shred of positive public image he may possess. Brafman said the negative PR will likely also make it difficult for him to have a fair trial “on charges that are otherwise defensible.”
In other words, the boisterous, obnoxious behavior is making what could be a successful defense that much harder.
Still, Brafman is giving it the old college try, referring to Shkreli as a “misunderstood genius.” Brafman is a legal – and public relations genius, although this one aint easy even for him.