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  • Martin Shkreli leaves the U.S. District Court after being convicted of securities fraud.

    Martin Shkreli leaves the U.S. District Court after being convicted of securities fraud. | Photo: Reuters

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Shkreli says he has been “exonerated” of his crimes despite his conviction.

Martin Shkreli — the former pharmaceuticals company CEO, once known as “the most hated man in America” — has been denied bail after a social media post about the former U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

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Shkreli’s Facebook post offered US$5000 for a strand of Clinton’s hair, which the judge in his case ruled as a “solicitation of an assault.” The judge added that there was “a risk someone may take” Shkreli up on the offer.

"This is a solicitation of assault in exchange for money," said Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, reported the BBC. "That is not protected by the First Amendment."

His defense lawyer, Ben Brafman, argued that Shkreli’s post about Clinton was a joke, and did not merit imprisonment.

Shkreli, however, will be heading to jail in New York as he awaits his sentencing for the securities fraud.

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The former CEO was found guilty in August for cheating investors in two failed hedge funds he had run. 

He shot to notoriety in 2015, earning the nickname “Pharma Bro”, when he raised the price of a lifesaving anti-parasite drug called Daraprim by 5,000 percent, after he had acquired the rights.

The drug's price soared from US$13.50 to US$750 for a single dose. The multi-millionaire had received a torrent of criticism on social media for the move.

Shkreli is due to be sentenced on January 16 and faces up to 20 years in prison.

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