-- The lead lawyer for former pharmaceutical company CEO Martin Shkreli is firing back at lawmakers on Capitol Hill after his controversial client was sharply questioned at a hearing last week on drug prices, defending his client's tweet that referred to members of Congress as "imbeciles."
In a letter published online by the New York Law Journal, Benjamin Brafman, a defense attorney who has represented musicians Jay-Z, Sean "Diddy" Combs and Michael Jackson, accused the House Oversight Committee -- which subpoenaed Shkreli -- of ordering the "Pharma Bro's" appearance to "publicly humiliate him."
"They demanded his appearance and then ridiculed and condemned him for invoking his constitutional rights that Congress is expected to respect and defend, not ridicule," he said.
The 32-year old Shkreli, the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, was heavily criticized after Turing dramatically raised the price of a drug used to treat parasitic infections, from $13.50 to $750.
Shkreli, who also faces an unrelated securities fraud charge, invoked his Fifth Amendment right at the hearing and did not answer lawmakers' questions -- only responding in a tweet as he left Capitol Hill.
Brafman defended the tweet as the expression of “raw outrage at the forced spectacle he was required to participate in.”
A spokesperson for the House Oversight Committee did not immediately return a request for comment.
Shkreli, who has pleaded not guilty to the securities fraud charges, will next appear in federal court on May 3.