Elizabeth Holmes Takes Stand In Theranos Criminal Fraud Trial

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The authorities rested its case Friday within the trial of fallen Silicon Valley star Elizabeth Holmes after spending greater than two months attempting to show she bamboozled buyers and sufferers into believing that her startup, Theranos, would reshape well being care.

Holmes and her workforce of legal professionals now have the chance to counter proof launched by prosecutors that forged her as a grasping, fame-obsessed swindler. They are additionally more likely to argue that the previous Theranos CEO by no means broke the regulation whereas pursuing her audacious ambitions to shake up the blood-testing business with what she billed as revolutionary expertise.

And one large query now involves the fore: Will Holmes take the stand in her personal protection?

Her legal professionals aren’t saying. But doing so could be her greatest likelihood to steer the jury to acquit her of fraud prices that might land her in jail for as much as 20 years.

For a lot of the previous three months, the previous entrepreneur has sat stoically to the suitable of the jury that can decide her destiny. Typically bolt upright in her chair and staring straight forward, Holmes has remained emotionless as even one-time supporters testified to their misgivings about her actions whereas main Theranos.

Jurors, nonetheless, have heard recordings of Holmes boasting to buyers about purported breakthroughs in a blood-testing expertise that proved to be unfaithful.

Prosecutors referred to as an array of witnesses in an effort to show that Holmes endangered affected person’s lives whereas additionally duping buyers and clients about Theranos’ expertise. The pitch: a Theranos machine referred to as the Edison would scan for lots of of well being issues with a number of drops of blood. Had it labored as promised, the Edison may have revolutionized healthcare by making it simpler and cheaper to scan for early indicators of illness and different well being points.

Existing checks typically every require a vial of blood, making it each gradual and impractical to run greater than a handful of affected person checks at a time.

Witness testimony and different proof introduced within the trial strongly means that Holmes misrepresented purported offers with main pharmaceutical companies reminiscent of Pfizer and the U.S. army whereas additionally concealing recurring issues with the Edison.

In the prelude to the trial, Holmes’ legal professionals filed papers stating she could testify about being manipulated by her former boyfriend — and Theranos’ former chief working officer — Sunny Balwani, who faces related prices in one other legal trial scheduled to start early subsequent 12 months. In their cross-examination of presidency witnesses, Holmes’ legal professionals have repeatedly tried to vilify Balwani.

The Edison issues didn’t turn out to be public information, although, till The Wall Street Journal printed the primary in a collection of explosive articles in October 2015 and the outcomes of an audit by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had been launched the subsequent 12 months.

By then, Holmes and Balwani had raised lots of of tens of millions of {dollars} from billionaire buyers reminiscent of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and the Walton household of Walmart and struck offers with Walgreens and Safeway to conduct blood checks of their shops. Those investments at one level valued Theranos at $9 billion, giving Holmes a $4.5 billion fortune — on paper — in 2014.

Evidence introduced on the trial additionally revealed that Holmes had distributed monetary projections calling for privately held Theranos to generate $140 million in income in 2014 and $990 million in income in 2015 whereas additionally turning a revenue. A replica of Theranos’ 2015 tax return introduced as a part of the trial proof confirmed the corporate had revenues of lower than $500,000 that 12 months whereas reporting gathered losses of $585 million.

Ellen Kreitzberg, a Santa Clara University regulation professor who has been attending the trial, mentioned she thought the federal government had made a powerful case.

“There’s nothing sort of fancy or sexy about this testimony,” she mentioned. “The witnesses were very careful in their testimony. None of the witnesses seemed to harbor anger or a grudge against her. And so because of that, they were very powerful witnesses.”

The 29 witnesses referred to as by the federal government included former two Theranos lab administrators who repeatedly warned Holmes that the blood-testing expertise was wildly unreliable. Prosecutors additionally questioned two part-time lab administrators, together with Balwani’s dermatologist, who spent only some hours scrutinizing Theranos’ blood-testing expertise throughout late 2014 and most of 2015. As Holmes’ legal professionals famous, the part-time lab administrators had been allowed beneath authorities rules.

Other key witnesses included former staff of Pfizer, former Safeway CEO Steve Burd and a litany of Theranos buyers, together with a consultant for the household funding agency of Betsy DeVos, the previous training secretary beneath President Donald Trump. The DeVos household wound up investing $100 million.

It was maybe simply as notable whom the federal government didn’t summon to the stand from the record of nearly 200 potential witnesses that it submitted earlier than the trial started. That record included two former Theranos board members who had been a part of Presidential cupboards — Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State in the course of the Nixon administration, and William Perry, Secretary of Defense in the course of the Clinton administration.

Although Holmes’ legal professionals merely should current a case that persuades jurors that the federal government has not met its burden to show guilt past an inexpensive doubt, they in all probability will transcend that threshold, predicted Jessica Roth, a regulation professor at Yeshiva University in New York,

“What the defense will do is present witnesses and documentary evidence, much as the prosecution would, to support its claim that Elizabeth Holmes did not have an intent to deceive anybody,” Roth mentioned.