Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes testifies in her own criminal trial

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One of the biggest mysteries in the high-profile fraud trial of former Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was whether or not she would testify. So it was a blow on Friday afternoon when the Stanford dropout took the stand, eleven weeks after the trial began. Now that prosecutors have put their case to rest — questioning witnesses such as former US Defense Secretary James Mattis, whistleblower Erica Cheung, Theranos patients, investors, medical professionals and journalists — Holmes is telling his side of the story under oath, his The defense is to build the case that he did not knowingly defraud his investors.

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The former Silicon Valley hotshot faces two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud. If convicted, each count could land him in prison for up to 20 years.

So far, Holmes has stuck to his argument that while Theranos made errors, the startup’s failure was not fraud. She claims that when she told stakeholders about the capabilities of Theranos’ technology, she was telling what she found to be true. Since Holmes is not a trained scientist, she says she listened to the guidance of the experts she hired – they also testified that scientists and engineers built a slide deck presented to investors.


Holmes’ defense has produced emails from high-ranking laboratory officials such as Chief Scientist Ian Gibbons, who said that Theranos machines “demonstrated capabilities comparable to laboratory methods in the areas where we have performed assay development.” Holmes testified that Gibbons’ email indicated that Theranos’ 4.0 Edison machine “anyone can run the test,” according to live courtroom reporting from Law360’s Dorothy Atkins (the trial is not livestreamed). Gibbons died in 2013 while employed at Theranos, days before being called to appear in court regarding a patent dispute related to Theranos. I had committed suicide.

Holmes also denied that she was trying to mislead Walgreens by sending company documents with unauthorized use of the Pfizer logo. she said in court that she wanted he handled the situation differently, but they included the Pfizer logo because Theranos did some tests with Pfizer before they didn’t work together. His defense also drew on a study from Johns Hopkins University around the same time, called the Theranos Technique.novel and sound,

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This is a direct response to a key prosecutor’s claim, which provided evidence that Holmes sent Walgreens a document called the “Pfizer Theranos System Validation Final Report” in 2010. As it turned out, this document was Created by Theranos StaffNot Pfizer. Yet Pfizer’s logo appeared prominently in the document, which indicated that the drug giant supports Theranos’ technology. Theranos struck deals with Walgreens and Safeway that year. But in court, a Pfizer scientist denied Pfizer backed Theranos, saying none of the employees approved the document it sent during negotiations about the deal. Pfizer looked into Theranos’ technology in 2008, but chose not to invest Company.

Holmes has also begun discussing his relationship with the Theranos board, who was paid $150,000 per year and half a million shares for his role – per year as advisor to former Foreign Secretary Henry Kissinger. $500,000 was paid. So far, it seems that Holmes is trying to characterize the board as being knowledgeable enough about the nature of the company to make an informed investment in the company. Diverse Court Room Journalists noted that Holmes is using corporate and scientific jargon in his testimony.

image credit: ethan swope (Opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Elizabeth Holmes made Theranos with a heartfelt pitch that raised enough capital from high-profile investors to reach a valuation of $10 billion. With just a single needle prick of blood, his technology will run dozens of blood tests to diagnose the disease quickly and at a low cost. She famously repeated the line: “I hope fewer people have to say goodbye to the people they love.”

But, as we now know — and as you can now learn through all HBO documentaries and investigative non-fiction books — the technology doesn’t work, and the company continues to test patients’ blood to find out. Despite that they could not deliver accurate medical information. Her criminal trial began in early September in San Jose, California — after delays caused by the pandemic and Holmes’s delivery — with Judge Edward Davila on the bench.

in her heyday, when Forbes named her youngest and richest Female self-made billionaire in America, she was portrayed as a Steve Jobs-like genius with unstoppable charisma. But in court filings, Holmes’ defense said Ramesh was “Sunny” Balwani, her ex-boyfriend and Theranos’ COO. abusive and controlling, The filing indicates that Holmes’ attorneys may testify on Holmes’ mental health and the effects of the abuse as part of his defense, perhaps blaming Theranos’ failure on Balvani, who will be facing a separate fraud trial next year. will be run.

But as Holmes has testified over the past few days, the San Jose courthouse looks more like a circus than the site of a criminal fraud case. Law360 reporter Dorothy Atkins tweeted this morning that when she arrived at 4:30 a.m., she was 32nd person in line To enter the court. Due to the popularity of the case, audience members solicited To simply take notes or live-report using the silent keyboard like the touch screen on a smartphone. some journalists Laya Tarot Cards Waiting in line for hours to give readings. The fanfare is reminiscent of the early days of the trial in September, when fans (yes, fans) of the disgraced entrepreneur cosplayed as elizabeth holmes, As a play on that viral moment, the artist Danielle Baskin – which often makes fun of In Silicon Valley Culture – The line sold out blonde wigs, black turtlenecks, lipstick, and blood energy drinks this morning (she later tweeted that she learned today you can’t)sell merch“On Federal Property.)

Although Elizabeth Holmes makes an easy Halloween costume, Ancient Nothing can dilute the horrifying evidence presented by prosecutors around the high-profile case, which is working to prove to the jury that Holmes intentionally defrauded investors by lying about the efficacy of Theranos products. Gave.

Erin Tompkins, a former Theranos patient testified in court That the results of his Theranos test detected the presence of HIV antibodies, which could mean that he had the virus that causes AIDS, a life-threatening disease. Tompkins said she didn’t have insurance at the time, so she couldn’t get another blood test until three months later, which didn’t detect HIV. She said she was initially drawn to Theranos because the prices were so low. Another patient, Dr. Mehrl Ellsworth, testified that he had received false results, which falsely indicated that he had prostate cancer.

Dr. Adam Rosendorff, former director of Theranos Laboratory, testified that “The company was more about PR and fundraising than patient care,” adding that Holmes went ahead with the commercial launch of Theranos despite his concerns about the technology. One of Theranos whistleblowers, Erica Cheung, told her story of leaving the startup because she was uncomfortable processing patient samples when she didn’t think the technology could provide accurate results.

After the court adjourned today, the trial will take a break for the Thanksgiving holiday, with Holmes’ testimony resuming Monday. According to court scheduleHis defense is expected to present his side by mid-December.

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