Letter: Drug exec Shkreli will not answer questions at hearing

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Martin Shkreli Is Seeking New Lawyers

NEW YORK, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Former drug executive Martin Shkreli plans to assert his right against self-incrimination and remain silent if he is forced to appear next week at a congressional hearing about drug prices, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

Shkreli's lawyer informed the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of his intent not to answer questions and asked that Shkreli be excused from appearing, committee chairman Jason Chaffetz wrote in the letter dated Wednesday to his lawyer, Baruch Weiss.

SEE ALSO: Ex-drug CEO Shkreli plans to replace lawyers

Shkreli, who created a fire storm last year after raising the price of Daraprim, a life-saving medicine by more than 5,000 percent, is also facing federal criminal charges that he defrauded investors.

Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, wrote to Weiss that Shkreli could face criminal prosecution for contempt if he fails to appear at the hearing, scheduled for Tuesday. "Mr. Shkreli is uniquely qualified to answer questions about rising prescription drug prices," Chaffetz wrote.

Shkreli told lawmakers on Twitter on Thursday: "Your attempt to subvert my constitutional right to the 5th amendment are disgusting & insulting to all Americans."

The lawmaker held out the possibility of a compromise, writing that the committee may agree to hear testimony in a non-public session or to immunize the testimony so that it could not be used in the criminal prosecution.

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Letter: Drug exec Shkreli will not answer questions at hearing
Martin Shkreli, the former hedge fund manager under fire for buying a pharmaceutical company and ratcheting up the price of a life-saving drug, is belted into an awaiting car after being taken into custody following a securities probe, on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015 in New York. A seven-count indictment unsealed in Brooklyn federal court Thursday charged Shkreli with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Martin Shkreli, the former hedge fund manager under fire for buying a pharmaceutical company and ratcheting up the price of a life-saving drug, sits in an awaiting car after being taken into custody following a securities probe, on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015 in New York. A seven-count indictment unsealed in Brooklyn federal court Thursday charged Shkreli with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Martin Shkreli, the former hedge fund manager under fire for buying a pharmaceutical company and ratcheting up the price of a life-saving drug, is escorted by law enforcement agents in New York Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, after being taken into custody following a securities probe. A seven-count indictment unsealed in Brooklyn federal court Thursday charged Shkreli with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Martin Shkreli, the former hedge fund manager under fire for buying a pharmaceutical company and ratcheting up the price of a life-saving drug, is escorted by law enforcement agents in New York Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, after being taken into custody following a securities probe. A seven-count indictment unsealed in Brooklyn federal court Thursday charged Shkreli with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Martin Shkreli, the former hedge fund manager under fire for buying a pharmaceutical company and ratcheting up the price of a life-saving drug, is escorted by law enforcement agents in New York Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, after being taken into custody following a securities probe. A seven-count indictment unsealed in Brooklyn federal court Thursday charged Shkreli with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
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The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that no person shall be compelled in any criminal case "to be a witness against himself."

Shkreli resigned as chief executive officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals last month after his arrest on securities fraud charges. Turing acquired Daraprim, a 62-year-old drug and drastically increased the price, causing a public furor.

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