A deep-pocketed investor told jurors Monday that Martin Shkreli reminded him of “Rain Man” in his first meeting with the self-described “genius.”
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Under questioning from defense attorney Ben Brafman, Rosewood Corp chairman Schuyler Marshall sheepishly recounted that he’d told prosecutors in December 2015 that the 34-year-”Pharma Bro” reminded him of Dustin Hoffman’s Oscar-winning role in the 1988 comedy-drama.
“If your main question is, ‘Does Martin remind me of Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man?’ I would have to say, yes,” Marshall conceded begrudgingly as he testified in Shkreli’s securities fraud trial.
The Barry Levinson-directed Best Picture winner “Rain Man” tells the story of self-obsessed luxury car dealer Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), who discovers that his estranged father died and left his estate to his other son, Raymond (Hoffman), who is an autistic savant.
”I did not in the meeting conclude that Martin Shkreli was autistic, or anything like that,” added Marshall, who invested $200,000 in Shkreli’s former hedge fund, MSMB Capitol. ”What I thought was that this was someone who focused on one small segment of the stock market and just lived it, and that was his investment advantage.”
“And that reminded you of ‘Rain Man?’” Brafman asked.
“I would say that my recollection of the movie was that the character was intensely focused on math, and Martin Shkreli was an intensely focused guy,” Marshall said.
“Did he impress you as being brilliant?” Brafman barked.
“I would say he impressed me as being smart and highly focused,” Marshall responded testily, before drawing on an experiment model for a biotechnology company he and Shkreli had previously discussed.
“Just because a mouse can learn to swim and stand on a pile of bricks and doesn’t drown doesn’t mean [the company] was going to be successful,” the chairman added.
After nearly a full year of needling Shkreli, Marshall was paid back $300,000 in cash, and had eventually sold 37,809 shares of unsolicited Retrophin stock the hedge fund had passed to him for somewhere between $40,000 to $100,000.
Prosecutors contend the former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO used unauthorized funds from another of his companies to pay off investors after losing their money, while the defense team argues that everyone who invested with Shkreli made money.
Brafman focused on Shkreli’s “brilliance” and “odd duck” tendencies during his opening in the trial–begging jurors to look beyond his client’s “weird” and “dysfunctional” ways.