09:08, July 20 343 0 abajournal.com

2017-07-20 09:08:05
Jury selection in Shkreli fraud trial follows trend of favoring the uninformed

Jury selection in the fraud trial of former drug company CEO Martin Shkreli followed what has become more of a trend: Lawyers are seeking jurors who uninformed as well as unbiased.

That is the conclusion of a New York Times article, which reported that potential jurors stricken from the pool included people who worked in the pharmaceutical or finance industries. Shkreli is accused of using money from Retrophin, the publicly traded drug company he founded, to pay investors who lost money in two of his hedge funds.

“Perhaps in a sign of a polarized age,” the article reports, “lawyers from both sides appear increasingly to be concerned that opinions mean inflexibility. They are looking for jurors who not only have no viewpoints on the case, but also little exposure to the subject matter, who don’t follow the news, haven’t traveled to the places discussed at trial and have pastimes as innocuous as possible.”

The story gives other examples. Two jurors knew little about a deadly mining accident when they were seated to hear a case alleging a cover-up of safety violations, though the incident had received widespread news coverage. Potential jurors who had favorable exposure to Muslims or the Middle East were stricken from a terrorism case. In a San Francisco insider trading case, several potential jurors with financial experience were stricken.

Jurors in Shkreli’s case heard testimony about financial details such as bid-ask spreads, par values and security valuations. In his opening statement, defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman told jurors they needed “street smarts,” but no special expertise to evaluate the case.

Hat tip to Bloomberg Big Law Business.