Elizabeth Holmes reappears in court as lawyers go their separate ways

Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes outside a hearing in her criminal fraud trial on May 4, 2021.


Pregnant Elizabeth Holmes has appeared in court for the first time in 15 months during three days of hearings that will pave the way for her criminal fraud trial.

In Tuesday’s session at the Federal Courthouse in San Jose, Judge Edward Davila allowed only Holmes, his defense attorneys and the prosecution to enter. Upon entering the courthouse, Holmes refused to answer questions from CNBC’s Scott Cohn.

The hearing, which lasted more than seven hours, saw the two sides clash over critical motions that will determine the evidence heard by the jury, including how Silicon Valley culture may have influenced Holmes’ behavior in as CEO of Theranos. The company closed in 2018 after a Wall Street Journal investigation uncovered unproven technology and questionable business practices.

“There’s a hype in Silicon Valley, there’s going to be a natural discussion about start-ups and how they operate,” Davila said. He ruled that the defense would not be able to classify her as having been unfairly singled out.

Prosecutors warned the judge not to give Holmes too much room to say his actions were no different from any other startup.

“I want to warn against what the defense paints with a very broad brush when they talk about trade secret practices at Theranos,” said Jeff Schenk, a US deputy lawyer.

Holmes’ attorneys say prosecutors built a large case on the basis of anecdotal evidence. Theranos technology has performed between seven and ten million tests over two years. Amy Saharia, an attorney for Holmes, said the trial “is going to be a sprawling mess of irrelevant and damaging evidence.”

She added: “We have all become very familiar with the tests this year. Testing involves many different variables. What the government is proposing is without a scientific basis, it must establish that the Theranos technology was responsible for the flawed results. Just because it happened, it wasn’t because of Theranos technology. “

The questions were just a few of more than two dozen motions the judge is expected to rule on this week.

One is a motion by Holmes to block evidence of his wealth, spending, and lifestyle from the jury. Prosecutors allege that “Holmes’ desire to retain his wealth and status created a powerful motive” to continue and cover up his fraud. Holmes was once considered the youngest female billionaire, with an estimated net worth of $ 4.5 billion.

A former Theranos executive who was close to Holmes told CNBC: “I don’t think Elizabeth saw any light between her and the company. She saw herself as the company.” This person asked not to be appointed for fear of jeopardizing future employment opportunities.

Holmes, once a media darling who covered television channels and magazines, has remained silent since being charged with nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiring to commit wire fraud. wire. The former executive told CNBC she was “a naturally optimistic person.”

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“There was such a mythology built around her. And I think to some extent she recognized it and embraced it.”

“Anyone who paid attention to it really only heard negative things about him,” said Danny Cevallos, NBC News legal analyst. “His fall from grace was spectacular. There will be a lot of jurors who have probably heard of Holmes and it’s probably not good.

Jury selection is scheduled for August 31.

“She has her heart [of] supporters, a small one, but supporters who until their last day say she has been unfairly portrayed and abused, ”said the former Theranos executive.

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