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NY AG cites Martin Shkreli pharma ban in Trump fraud case

Shortly after a New York appeals court affirmed “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli’s lifetime ban from the pharmaceutical industry Tuesday, the New York attorney general’s office said the case proved another prominent individual should be banned from their business — former President Trump.

New York Attorney General Letitia James’s (D) office wrote in a letter to the judge overseeing Trump’s civil fraud trial Tuesday that the affirmation of Shkreli’s lifetime ban should embolden the judge to seek the same penalty for the former president.

A former drug company CEO, Shkreli was sued by James and the Federal Trade Commission in 2020 after hiking the price of life-saving medication while simultaneously taking action to prevent competitive medicines from being approved for sale in the United States.

The attorney general’s office noted that in its closing arguments of Trump’s fraud trial, the state cited a different judge’s decision to bar Shkreli from participating in the pharmaceutical industry for life and to order him to pay $64.6 million.

Trump’s legal team forcefully pushed back against the characterization, reiterating arguments made at trial that there are no victims of the fraud alleged by the attorney general.

Trump lawyer Chris Kise said in a statement that in “stark contrast,” Shkreli’s case involved several witnesses, complaints and victims. The monetary award in that case compensated “actual victims,” and the lifetime ban blocked Shkreli from “menacing a fragile populace” again, he said.

“Comparing this case to that of Martin Shkreli demonstrates the Attorney General’s willingness to wield the power of her office recklessly and her desperation and obvious frustration with President Trump’s front-running ascent towards the White House,” Kise said.

Judge Arthur Engoron found Trump, the Trump Organization and several top executives liable for fraud last year, and a trial to determine other claims — and any penalties — concluded earlier this month.

James has asked the judge to force Trump to pay nearly $370 million as a penalty and to issue a lifetime ban on the former president and two top executives from doing real estate business in New York. Her office also asked for a five-year ban on Trump’s adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.

Engoron said he hopes to issue a decision in the case by Jan. 31, though it could come at any time.

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