Theranos founder and accused scammer Elizabeth Holmes, who was pregnant in July and expecting a baby, appeared in federal court in San Jose on Tuesday for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began last year to demonstrate how their defense strategy is taking shape.
Holmes’ legal team, who defended them against a dozen blood test fraud allegations related to their failed Palo Alto startup, accused prosecutors of failing to obtain the Theranos database they suspected of that the inaccurate blood tests, which are central to the alleged crimes, were extremely rare.
« Let’s say the erroneous result was caused by the fact that the blood in Phoenix was in 110 degrees Celsius for a day lied, « argued Holmes attorney Lance Wade during the hearing in the US District Court in San Jose, adding that he was a phlebotomist could have made a mistake when taking a blood sample. « There are many other aspects of the testing process that have nothing to do with Theranos’ technology. »
As prosecutors plan to call 11 patients who allegedly received inaccurate test results and Theranos has performed 7-10 million tests , false results were « the proverbial of a million, » said Wade.
Wade also referred to the lack of the database – the destruction of which in this case is a hotly contested matter – both as a « gaping hole in the government’s case » as an obstacle to Holmes’ defense. « The deprivation of us from having this tool is substantial, » he said. With no real evidence that problems with Theranos have resulted in unreliable test results, the government plans to put patients on the stand as victims, To address the jury’s emotions, despite the lack of evidence that the company’s technology has caused poor results, their lawyers argued in their first personal hearing since the pandemic began. Prosecutors allege Holmes, a high school dropout Stanford University, who founded Theranos in 2003, has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to investors and scammed doctors and patients with false claims that the company’s machines could run a full range of tests with just a few drops of blood when they knew the technology Had accuracy and reliability issues. She and her co-defendant Sunny Balwani have denied the claims.
Prosecutor John Bostic, who responded to defense claims over the missing database, announced that its destruction is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation. Holmes, who ran Theranos as CEO, was running the company when the government issued a subpoena for the database, and Theranos destroyed it before the government could access its contents, claims Bostic. Wade accused prosecutors of creating an « aura » that somehow implicated them in the database destruction, but argued that there was no evidence for this.
Bostic said the patients who will testify Not only are they victims of fraud promised accurate results that Holmes knew Theranos could not reliably deliver, but are also examples or “bricks in the wall” of evidence showing the systemic accuracy and reliability problems which only apply to the US company’s technology. Prosecutor Jeff Schenk said there were internal Theranos emails showing Holmes knew about the issues.
While the database would have been useful, it would not have shown the number of inaccurate Theranos tests, said Bostic. Prosecutors have « various types of evidence » showing Theranos had accuracy issues, including statements from former employees about recurring problems, statements from regulators about deficiencies in laboratory practice, failure rates of Theranos machines and Theranos’ withdrawal and nullification of test results, Bostic said. « At the end of the trial, it becomes very clear that Theranos was suffering from many of its unique problems that resulted in its inability to provide accurate test results, » he said.
At the start of the hearing, Judge Edward Davila had the preliminary orders Defense prevented from arguing that the jury should exempt Holmes because Silicon Valley startup culture often includes hyping new products and other companies have not been prosecuted for exaggerated claims about new technology. Seema Roper, a Holmes attorney, told Davila the defense had no intention of making this « selective prosecution » argument. But Holmes’ team could attack, for example, testimony claiming that nobody in Silicon Valley is exaggerating, Roper said. « We know this is being done in Silicon Valley, » said Roper.
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Prosecutor Jeff Schenk said he did not expect prosecution witnesses to testify that this type of hyperbole did not exist in the region.
The trial of Holmes, which has been postponed three times because of the pandemic and trial, is said to be start on August 31st. She faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $ 2.75 million fine and possible reimbursement, the Justice Department said. She is reportedly married to hotel heir Billy Evans.