Elizabeth Holmes trial verdict: guilty of four out of 11 counts

Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000 plus restitution for each count of wire fraud and each count of conspiracy.

Hours later, the jury returned another note stating that it was still unable to reach a verdict on those counts.

After reading the note aloud, the judge ushered the jury into the courtroom. He asked jurors if more deliberation would help reach a unanimous verdict, to which no juror raised a hand to indicate it would. He sent them back to the deliberations room to fill out the verdict form.

Holmes, who claimed to have revolutionized blood testing, faced nine counts of federal wire fraud and two counts of conspiring to commit wire fraud over allegations she intentionally lied to investors , doctors and patients about his company’s blood testing abilities to take their money and support his company.

The verdict comes after a long trial that began last fall in a federal courthouse in San Jose presided over by Judge Edward Davila. While Holmes, 37, was first charged more than three years ago, her trial has been delayed by the pandemic and the birth of her child.

The trial, which lasted three months before being presented to the jury, generated considerable interest given Holmes’ fame in its heyday and as a rare trial for criminal fraud of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur.

Holmes started Theranos in 2003 at the age of 19 and dropped out shortly after his sophomore year at Stanford to pursue the effort fully. After a decade passed under the radar, Theranos began to publicly tout its ability to test for diseases like cancer and diabetes with just a few drops of blood taken from a finger prick and announced a retail partnership with Walgreens.

Many accepted the promise: Theranos raised $ 945 million from leading figures who have invested in Theranos, including media mogul Rupert Murdoch, Oracle founder Larry Ellison, the Walton family of Walmart and the billionaire family from former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. This valued Theranos at $ 9 billion, making Holmes, for a time, a paper billionaire. But, the dominoes started falling after a 2015 Wall Street Journal survey found the company was only using its proprietary technology for about a dozen of the hundreds of tests it offered, and with questionable accuracy.

Jurors heard from 32 witnesses throughout the case. The prosecution called 29 witnesses, including former Theranos employees, retail executives and a former US Secretary of Defense, as they attempted to weave the complicated web of alleged deception in which Holmes was was hired to allegedly defraud investors and patients. The charge was to find out what Holmes knew about her company’s technology and its failings, when she knew it and intended to mislead despite that knowledge.

The defense case, meanwhile, relied heavily on the testimony of Holmes herself.

Testifying for approximately 24 hours out of seven hearing days, Holmes admitted that Theranos’ devices were only used to perform a dozen tests on patients, but explained why and did not admit that this was due to technological failures. She recognized some of the other key points of government, but introduced herself as a true believer in the capabilities and mission of the company. While she expressed some contrition during her time on the stand, she denied ever having intended to deceive – a key sticking point that the prosecution must convince jurors about in order to convict Holmes.

Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos Inc., arrives in federal court in San Jose, California, United States, Monday, January 3, 2022.

Holmes pointed the finger at the others, largely doing so her ex-boyfriend, the former president and chief operating officer of Theranos, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, who oversaw some key areas involved in the charges, such as the company’s clinical laboratory. (Balwani faces the same charges as Holmes and is expected to go to trial early this year. He has pleaded not guilty.)

More and more emotional on the stand, Holmes alleged that she was the victim of a ten-year abusive relationship with Balwani. While denying that Balwani was in control of her statements to investors and others, she also claimed that Balwani sought to control almost every aspect of her life. Balwani has previously denied allegations of abuse in court records.

Holmes testified that although she was not aware of everything that had happened at the company, it “never” took steps to try to mislead investors.

“These were people who were long-term investors, and I wanted to talk about what this company could do in a year, in five years, in ten years,” she said. “They weren’t interested in today, tomorrow or next month. They were interested in what kind of change we could make.”

When asked if she ever made patients believe that Theranos could offer accurate and reliable blood tests knowing that it wasn’t? Holmes testified: “Of course not.”

Rishi Iyengar contributed to this story.


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