Elizabeth Holmes stands firm in her criminal trial
Holmes began testimony Friday afternoon in a San Jose courtroom on the first day of the defense’s case. She is also expected to testify next Monday and Tuesday, the only days the court meets.
Holmes, once hailed as the next Steve Jobs, faces 11 federal fraud charges over allegations that she intentionally misled investors, doctors and patients about her ability to test blood. her company to take their money. Holmes pleaded not guilty and faces 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, plus restitution for each count.
Whether Holmes testified was a big question during the trial. She attended court every day, usually with a family member. On Friday, her partner, mother and at least one person who appeared to be her friend attended. She was smiling as she stood up and for much of her testimony.
Some of the initial questions from her defense attorney aimed at determining the company’s provenance include how she was a chemical engineering student at Stanford University and her patent application. her first.
“I started talking to my parents and they allowed me to take the money they had saved so I could go to college to work on my patent,” she testified. “Then I tried to raise or borrow money.”
“You can?” her lawyer asked.
“I did,” she replied.
The original patent was not for a blood test. Instead, she started with the idea of a pill that could be swallowed without any other action, she said.
Holmes goes on to explain the evolution of her idea from a pill to a patch to a bench-top device.
“When I started talking to people about what could be useful, I learned that people were interested in a bench or desktop device, and we moved on to try to build it. “, she said.
Holmes’ attorneys had previously indicated in court documents that she could claim she was the victim of a decade-long abusive relationship with Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, who was a former employee. Company COO. They indicated that she was “capable of testifying on her own as to why she trusted, relied and procrastinated on Mr. Balwani,” who is nearly 20 years her senior. The files date from 2020 and were unsealed shortly before the trial began with jury selection in late August. Balwani, according to court filings from his attorneys, “resolutely denied receive” claims.
Her lawyers also indicated plans to have an expert testify about the psychological, emotional and sexual abuse she experienced at the hands of Balwani.
A Stanford University dropout, Holmes founded Theranos in 2003 at the age of 19 with a mission to revolutionize blood testing. Inspired by her fear of needles, the company promises patients the ability to test for diseases like cancer and diabetes with just a few drops of blood. Once valued at $9 billion, Theranos has established partnerships with Walgreens and Safeway, and is a curator of board members and investors.
Then it all fell apart. A disastrous investigation by the Wall Street Journal in October 2015 questioned the capabilities of the company’s proprietary blood-testing machine, Edison, as well as Theranos’s testing methods. Theranos was later sued by investors for fraud and had its US blood test license revoked. The company settled “massive fraud” charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission and was eventually dissolved in September 2018.